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LOlfSOK, B.C. 



ALL the pieces composing this volume, except two, 
were prepared for certain occasions of a Wes- 
ley an President's year of office. The reader must 
judge whether they ought to survive these occasions, 
even for a brief period. The author, in spite of a 
disturbing suspicion that much in these compositions 
might have been allowed to perish outright, hopes 
that a few things will be found in them which 
many are waiting to learn, or will be glad to 
meet. If any apology be needed for introducing a 
sermon which was preached six years ago, it is not 
due to the public, but to the memory of the friend 
whose death it commemorates ; and whose character 
was entitled to receive an earlier recognition, as it 
certainly merited a worthier tribute, than is here offered 
to eminent talents, honest service, and rare personal 
worth. There is in Methodism a mine of biographical 
treasure awaiting the toil of the explorer ; and if an 
attempt were made to bring to the light the distin- 
guishing energies of Mr. Wiseman's mind, the inci- 
dents of his ministry, and the lessons of his career, 
it ought to furnish the young preacher with an 
example which would repay study, and the general 
reader with a benefaction to literature. 

E. E. J- 


January, 1882. 





1. Valedictory Address to Westminster Students . . 1 

2. Letter to the Young People op the Methodist 

Connexion 21 

3. Address on the Old and the New Year ... 30 

4. Address at the Funeral op the Rev. W. Morlet 

Punshon, LL.D. 35 

5. Address at the Funeral op the Rev. William 

Overend Simpson 44 

6. Address delivered at the Annual Education Meeting 

(April 6th, 1881) 53 

7. Address at the Annual Meeting op the Wesleyan- 

Methodist Missionary Society (May 2nd, 1881) . 58 


1. ' Let us Hold Fast our Profession ' 

2. ' I know Whom I have Believed ' . 

3. God our Saviour .... 

4. The Pure in Heart 

5. Tarrying for Power 

6. ' Quit you like Men ' 

7. Earthly Things and Heavenly Things 

8. Our Labour not in Vain in the Lord 







DECEMBER i8th, 1880. 

MY dear Young Feiends and Fellow-labourers, 
There is scarcely any labour assigned to 
me in this my official year to which I can address 
myself with so congenial a temper as that which I 
bring to the task of to-day. Many years of my mis- 
sionary life were spent in school work ; and as I was 
then inured to the difficulties and became familiar 
with the solicitudes and the unequally distributed results 
of teaching, the impressions of those days are still 
with me in very vivid forms. I cherish them, and 
add to them unconsciously, through an ever-present 
sympathy with the human mind, especially in the 
earlier stages of its growth. Its movements during 
this time fascinate me, as the spectator of a contest 
may be supposed to be under a spell of curiosity while 
the features of the struggle are opening out, and the 
early dispositions of the forces, upon which nearly 
everything depends, predict to the critical eye what 
the probable result will be. The spectacle of a mind 



in action moving in the direction of triumph or of 
failure transcends in interest and significance every 
conceivable exhibition of trial. A false idea in child- 
hood, which a brief mstruction might have corrected, 
has sometimes involved the ruin of a life ; and where 
this catastrophe has been averted, it has often reduced 
by one half the period of its useful service. Among 
the regrets of every thoughtful man must be the 
virtual abridgment of his life, too brief if nothing 
were lost, through the wasteful errors of early years. 
You are called, not to arrest the wandering of an 
adult mind, if haply its last steps may be turned into 
the ways of truth, and a fragment of the wreck saved, 
but to be present before the mind has fairly com- 
menced its career, to help to plan that career, to follow 
and encourage it while its first steps are timid and 
irresolute, and to point out where its great strength 
lies. This duty which the study of experience has 
made an art will be the glad work of all earnest and 
good men as they may find the opportunity of doing 
it ; but it is your profession. Training the young is 
a home task, and it is inalienable. You are skilled 
helpers of the parent ; and where you find the parental 
authority void, you fill the seat of the child's natural 
guardian and preceptor, not for one home, but for 
many. You are preparing to be the Wisdom of the 
land; to put forth your voice as you stand in the 
top of high places, by the way, in the places of the 
paths, at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the 
coming in at the doors ; * to speak chosen words to the 
childhood and youth of the nation, words that will 
render a more eminent service to the country than 
the legislation of restraint and defence. 

* Prov. viii. 1-3. 


This function of government addresses itself to 
minds whose errors are matured, whose powers of 
mischief know no law but external force, whose 
misery is desperate. If we walk through the streets 
of London, or of any large city, and happen to be 
in the mood for such reflections, what an exhibition 
of perverted and unhappy strength we meet in the life 
that crowds and jostles us on every side ! How sad 
the story of its career, as we read it in the prisons, the 
penitentiaries, the asylums, and the state charities, 
whose buildings give their designation and notoriety to 
our streets and squares ! How wonderful is the force 
of the human mind even in its errors and crimes ! 
Your mission, which without extravagance I may call 
sublime, is the task of bringing the enormous mental 
power of the country under the control of the con- 
science, placing government in the breast of the sub- 
ject, instead of in the laws of the realm. If you 
were intellectualists, and were about to proceed to 
your work with the implements and lessons of merely 
human teaching, I should point to this highest mark 
of the teacher in a very different spirit from that in 
which I now press its attainment upon you. I should 
despair of your ever reaching it. There are honest and 
very able men who repudiate the supernatural ; and 
they sometimes thrust a problem before us, and smile 
good-naturedly as they see us weary our fingers in 
the attempt to separate its knots. But there is no 
problem in Christian dogma so intricate, so insoluble, 
as the question which is now engaging the attention of 
certain thinkers, How to educate a high non-Christian 
morality ? In the first place, they confess to themselves 
that, if they are right, Christianity ought never to 
have existed : in the second place, they are compelled 
to admit that the highest forms of morality known, 



whether in doctrine or in character, are of Christian 
growth : and in the third place, the fact which they 
have dreaded to see is slowly stealing upon the sight, 
that the mind is not necessarily purified by losing its 
errors ; that the clearest conviction of the folly and 
injustice of bad deeds does not necessarily furnish an 
adequate motive for goodness ; that examples of moral 
excellence do not necessarily inspire the stimulus and 
power of imitation ; that even absorbing intellectual 
activity, when engaged upon the noblest work, not only 
does not lift a man out of the reach of temptation, but 
does not save him from becoming the bond- slave of 
passion. There is a fact to be added which is even more 
disappointing and mortifying to those who confide in the 
sufficiency of mere knowledge and mental training : — 
Education, though the enemy of crime, is not the con- 
queror of crime. 

This is so remarkable a circumstance that it may 
be worth while to re-state it, with one or two reflec- 
tions, that we may have all its meaning before us. 
Crime is flagrant wickedness, and supposes the failure 
of those restraints by which wickedness is inclosed within 
the self of the person who commits it. Self-respect is 
a strong fence, even when it is not grounded in self- 
approval, but in public esteem. Without being careful 
to analyse the reasons of our good repute, we flatter it 
as correctly measuring a fair average of merit, and we 
value our personal honour in the gross. This is the 
outwork of a good name, the property, little or much, 
which every one of us is proud to call his own, and 
which most would defend with their life. When we 
allow a temptation to overwhelm this fence we consent 
to accept infamy rather than thwart our evil desires. 
Brutish indifference to the judgment and rights of others 
when they happen to stand in our way is the last depra- 


vity of selfishness, and the government is obliged to 
chase it into dens and caves of the earth. One of the 
costliest functions of a civil administration is to guard 
decent and orderly life from the wild incursions or 
premeditated assaults of men who have broken loose 
from those common sentiments of self-respect which 
are the bands of a civilised community. Such senti- 
ments do not rank high in morals : they are, in fact, 
the rudiments of society ; those who are ignorant of 
them are barbarous, and those who despise them are 

Now while it is true that the mass of our criminals 
belong to the illiterate classes, the offences for which 
they are punished are not, for the most part, the 
highest order of crimes. They reflect pretty accu- 
rately a condition of poverty and ignorance, a condi- 
tion which becomes vicious as it becomes chronic ; it 
is, unhappily, the inheritance of multitudes, and crime 
seems to be its necessary exercise and activity. Want 
prompts theft ; intemperance makes depravity lawless, 
and gives immediate ripeness to the seminal iniquity of 
the heart ; ignorance hides from the offender' s considera- 
tion every alternative to vice : and human beings are wild 
beasts that must be caged or fenced out. But the most 
scandalous and dangerous felons are those who, by the 
help of skilled faculties, make crime a fine art ; men of 
education who can construct and execute huge frauds, 
and conceal their villanies under whatever mask will 
serve their turn, commerce, philanthropy, and even 
piety. I cannot conceive a more appalling image than 
that of an educated man who will sit down and deli- 
berately plan a crime. We have been accustomed to 
attribute moral force to the examples of history ; he 
has studied them. We have always credited taste with 
moral restraint as well as artistic refinement; he is 


a man of taste. It is commonly supposed that good 
society, whether in the form of friendship or in the 
organised associations of clan, school, or club-life, will 
develop sentiments oT honour and generosity ; he has 
fraternised, even from youthful days, with gentlemen, 
and has mingled in equal rank with families of dis- 
tinction and stainless repute. And this man will arm 
himself with talents, information, public character, 
and all the graces of culture, and use them in the 
service of wickedness the most flagitious, in which 
there shall not be a single redeeming circumstance ; it 
shall be not only destructive of law and of right, but 
mean as well as mischievous — cruel, heartless, cowardly, 
base. Men of this class are not prodigies : their 
career is not to be explained by a rare conjunction 
of temperament and temptation. They must not be 
placed in the category of monsters. You will find 
them in continental prisons and in the penitentiaries of 
England; and if you could know the leading incidents 
of their life, you would discover that they are dis- 
tinguished rather for the enormity and success of their 
crimes than for any idiosyncrasies of disposition. 

But this does not by any means exhaust my illus- 
trations from criminal records of the moral barrenness 
of intellectual teaching. I have cited what may be 
considered an extreme case, but not extreme in respect 
of the rareness of its occurrence, but only in the con- 
spicuousness of its aptitude to strengthen the position 
I have laid down, that the education of our faculties 
may contribute little or nothing to the rectitude of our 
affections. We might descend, if it be a descent, to 
offenders of a humbler grade, and with whom I regret 
to say every police-court is familiar. I mean young men 
of respectable training and connections, who have pre- 
ferred to wreck their character and bring shame and 


heart-breaking upon their home, rather than forego 
their enjoyments. And of the vast amount of wicked- 
ness of which the law has no cognisance, of the ruin 
that overtakes multitudes of which the nation has 
no record, a much greater proportion than the most 
knowing of us is able to imagine is represented by the 
instructed classes of societv. 

In the light of these melancholy facts your colleges 
assume a rank in the country which no connexional 
partiality of mine can exaggerate. You go forth, not 
to undertake the doubtful and, as I think, the despair- 
ing experiment of making children good by setting 
their faculties in motion, by correcting ideas, imparting 
knowledge, and insuring self-discipline; but to build 
your work of child-training upon the fear of the Lord ; 
to make that, not the supplement or ornament of 
wisdom, but the beginning, the foundation of it. And 
here I must express the satisfaction which I have 
always felt in considering a fundamental law of your 
Institution, that which requires conversion to God to 
qualify a candidate for admission. This law was made 
by a far-seeing prudence ; and probably contained more 
and meant more than entered into the mind of those 
who established it. What is the worth of it to-day 
when education has become the law of the land ; when 
the country is swept for the schools, and every nook, 
corner, and hiding-place is forced to yield up its 
children to the government teacher ; and when the 
government does not demand the inculcation of a 
single religious truth ? Every state requirement in the 
Education Code may be met, every state privilege 
enjoyed, by the managers of a school in which from 
one end of the } r ear to the other the name of God 
shall not be even pronounced ! 

It is this fact that makes the conversion of our day- 


school teachers indispensable; and there is another 
truth, which we must place by its side to arrive at a 
just estimate of the present necessity and worth of 
these colleges. Wnile the government remits the 
question of the introduction of the Bible into their 
schools to the discretion of the Boards, some of the 
greatest teachers in England, whose works are state 
school books, deny the miraculous authority of the 
Bible, which is to deny the Bible. These gentlemen 
are as enthusiastic as they are able, and their names 
and influence are actively associated with anti- Christian 
doctrines. But you are Christian teachers ; not teachers 
sympathising with religion, but teachers made by reli- 
gion, whose purpose it is to teach religion ; who even 
in school board schools will not be deterred from con- 
vincing your children that you have faith in God, who 
will carefully watch for every opportunity of intro- 
ducing the nurture of the Lord ; and that this is not in- 
compatible with the severest school work, your college 
life has already assured you. The intellectual character 
of these colleges is not only not impaired by the 
Christian studies and the religious oversight which 
your principals are determined to maintain, but I will 
venture to say it is enhanced. The very circumstance 
that the exercises and lessons of devotion are popu- 
larly supposed to hazard purely scholastic results, will 
awaken the jealousy of your staff and the vigilance 
of your inspectors ; and the examination reports we 
have heard to-day confirm the remark I have ven- 
tured to make. I visited an important town a few 
days ago in which there are several board schools, 
and it happens that every one of them has a student 
from Westminster or Southlands; and a gentleman 
informed me that these teachers are incomparably the 
best. A reputation for competent attainments and pro- 


fessional success is with you the discharge of a Christian 

The teacher is the living book of the scholar. Re- 
member that the child in the glamour of its awe and 
fancy will invest you with a kind of omniscience. The 
dream does not last ; but while it abides you can do any- 
thing with your credulous and artless pupil ; and if the 
vision passes, the impressions of the child remain. This 
is the time of your greatest power ; and, during the brief 
reign of your omniscience, to be able to awaken in the 
child's soul the idea of a heavenly Father, and to 
entrench and support it by doctrine and testimony, will 
secure for you the ownership of the ground, and you 
will take possession in the name of the great Sovereign 
of men. Where this idea of God is lodged, and in 
a nature so much in sympathy with it as the heart of 
a child, other impressions in after life silt up around 
it until it becomes a bulwark which breaks the force of 
temptation when the enemy comes in like a flood. We 
entrust to you faith in God. We charge you to take 
this deposit to the schools of the country ; it would be 
mockery to tell you that to deliver this truth to the 
children of England is the supreme vocation of your 
profession. As working disciples of the blessed Lord 
you apprehend at once that this is your mission. I 
should hardly presume to remind you of it but for the 
struggle it will cost you to give it its due place and 
authority as the motive of your work. The world will 
not so regard it ; and even the government council 
does not admit it as the reason and ground of national 
education. There will be no recognition of it in the 
examination of school inspectors. You may totally 
neglect it, and attain the most excellent certificated 
rank ; your children may show in their proficiency a 
result of teaching which shall place the school in the 


highest possible grade; you may win every prize of 
your profession, and leave its noblest task undone ! 
Even as masters and mistresses of our own schools, 
where the main purpose of teaching is the enlargement 
of the Church, you may practically forget both Bible 
and Church by reserving your enthusiasm and your 
skill for secular studies, marring the holy lessons of 
Christ by a cold or forgetful manner, and making 
the daintiest food unpalatable. You may suffer all this 
without intending to permit it. I will not imagine for 
a moment that you will go to your work without a con- 
science, with any other than the purest and strongest 
Christian aim ; and yet this ' mark of your high 
calling,' if I may presume to borrow the expression 
of St. Paul, may gradually recede from sight as other 
and nearer and more glaring prizes come into view. 
The temptation will be strongest in the successful 
teacher; and I know not how it can be overcome 
except by habits of close intercourse with God. I 
cannot but remember that the very nature of your work 
and the qualifications you bring to it may increase 
the danger which I am endeavouring to point out ; 
the danger of so losing the freshness of your faith 
in Christ as to become mere teachers of His words 
instead of witnesses of His person and glory. It has 
been stated already that some of you will have to do 
the most important duty of your vocation without 
encouragement, except it be celestial encouragement, 
the sympathy and counsel of the divine Master. You 
will also recall your college days, and bear within you 
the character built up amid the sacred associations of 
student life, its friendships, its Church fellowships, its 
inner conflicts and triumphs. These are sources of 
strength; but they are either divine, and accessible only 
to prayer, or they are simply subjective, and only to be 


opened by reflection. In any case they do not come to 
you, but are found within you, and are not readily avail- 
able except to those who daily cherish them. You will 
not want sympathy in the prosecution of your secular 
work; that will come from without; and if you are 
favoured with health, and are bent upon advancement, 
you will taste the sweets of success. I only fear lest 
the divine stimulus may fail before the more active and 
prevalent incentives of promotion. It need not fail, 
however exciting and distracting the transitions of your 
progress ; and it will be an all-sufficient support if 
difficulties should make your path rugged, and disap- 
pointment overshadow it. If professional success hovers 
before you in mocking nearness, and refuses the eager 
grasp of your hand, the thought that you have received 
your teaching commission from Christ will lift your 
spirit above the vicissitudes of merely human work; for 
in His sight, who seeth not as man seeth, that may not 
have failed which men may choose to call failure. 

I have said that we entrust to you faith in God, and 
charge you to testify it to the children of England. 
How necessary in the execution of this mission that 
God should be a living presence within you ! First, 
on your own account. You live on the borderland 
of science. You have a popular acquaintance with 
natural objects and natural laws. You have acquired 
methods of calculation, by which you attain a much 
clearer, and, in this instance, more imposing concep- 
tion of magnitudes and of periods — which, whatever 
may be said to the contrary, are the strongholds of 
infidelity — than ordinary people can command. When 
the atheism of the present day, under a scientific 
guise and borrowing an honest name, assails the crea- 
tion of the world by one supreme Intelligence, and 
not only discredits the miracles of Scripture, but sneers 


at those who accept them, you may have that measure 
of knowledge which lends speciousness to anti-biblical 
arguments, instead of the profound and accurate in- 
formation which would enable you to refute them ; 
and this circumstance exposes you to the infection ot 
the scepticism which penetrates the current literature 
of England. You must read as a professional duty ; 
you will read for the gratification of taste. I need not 
tell you that there are seductions in innocent literature; 
where there is nothing to corrupt the passions or even 
to disturb them, there may be an immoral unbelief, 
concealed in the ambush of a fiction or in the spirit of 
an essay. There are no books so dangerous as those 
that lie unto us by assuming the lie as a truth which 
is universally admitted. The assumption shocks and 
confuses the unwary reader, confirms the doubts 
of the misgiving reader, and establishes the delusion 
of those who are abandoned to the error. It is most 
fatal when it shuns the form of a speculative argument, 
and pervades the treatment of another subject, the 
characters of a narrative, or the sentiments of a poem. 
In attempting to guard you against the perils of your 
necessary or your holiday reading, I am comforted by 
the reflection that you bring to your books a mind 
inured to the analysis of words and arguments, and 
that you will not easily become the victims of impos- 
ture. But Literature is a sorceress of infinite fasci- 
nations, and if she be in league with the heart, which 
is deceitful above all things, what wonder if the 
reason, even when fortified by knowledge and disci- 
pline, should be unable to resist their assault ! I there- 
fore commend you to the care of the Shepherd and 
Bishop of our souls. He will not damp intellectual 
enjoyment. His oversight will encourage intellectual 
progress. He will purify and preserve the vision 


which at your conversion was granted you of the 
heavenly Father who is above all and through all and 
in us all, and of your own immortality in Him. With 
Christ at your side, you will be safely piloted through 
the dangerous straits and quicksands of a modern 
teacher's career ; and that which men call a profession 
will become the labour and discharge of a divine trust. 
But not for yourselves only should God be a living 
presence within you, but for the sake of your charge. 
The schools to be committed to you will represent 
several classes of children, according to the organisa- 
tions under which they are worked, and the neighbour- 
hoods in which they are established. In some instances 
the school will be the single lamp of a district. There 
will be darkness in every dwelling, and from that dark- 
ness will come forth, it may be by the compulsory 
clause of the Education Act, little children into whose 
minds a thought of God has never entered, nor a 
thought of anything outside the care and hazard of 
finding food, and the necessity of escaping detection 
and restraint. No child you may pick up in any 
heathen land will be more alien from that which we 
consider mentally human, as distinguished from the 
brute, than multitudes of the little children of England 
this day ! Many of these are the offspring of several 
generations, during the course of which the level of 
mind has never once risen above the brute border. And 
your school will put forth the first attempt, it may be 
for a century, to lift the thought and ways of a neigh- 
bourhood into the dignity of human ideas and human 
responsibilities. You begin at once to cut off the 
entail of ignorance, of poverty, and of crime. From 
whatever side you look at this work, its first benefits 
are almost immediate, its breadth of future blessing 
is grand. The spirit of a man is the candle of the 


Lord : take that dark little mind and ignite it with 
the idea, Thou God seest me ; send it back to its home 
with this touch of Jight flickering about its simple 
faith and its imagination, and you have conferred a 
boon upon your country, surpassing many of those 
achievements which have made legislators and warriors 
famous. It is the prerogative of light to impart itself 
without loss ; and, thank God ! it is not an uncommon 
fact in the history of the moral reformation of towns, 
that a school child has been the first light of a district 
which afterwards became studded with witnesses for 
God, for order, for temperance, for education, and for 

In schools which educate children of this class, 
where the teacher finds much to perplex, and little 
to help him, it will be his most difficult task to convey 
a distinct notion of truth and of duty. If he is wise 
he will not allow any elementary lesson to take pre- 
cedence of this impression. It will indeed be his 
aim to awaken it, as best he can, if he be merely a 
secularist; for to do justice to those educationists 
who ignore religious faith, they inculcate the prin- 
ciples of virtue, and work in the direction of a high 
moral standard. But in your mind truth and duty 
are rooted in God. You may cut them off and graft 
them into a civil or political institution ; and if they 
live there, they are kept alive by the religion that 
happens to survive in the traditions and social standards 
of that institution. It would not be difficult to prove 
and illustrate this statement at length if this were a 
suitable time for such a discussion. But for your sakes 
it is not necessary that our address should lead us into 
this side path. It is the constituent subject of your 
faith, and the ground-position of your system, that 
truth and duty have their spring in God. I repeat that, 


as far as practicable, these ideas should precede all 
other lessons. The philosopher may smile that I should 
take a proposition so abstruse as that which affirms the 
existence of God, and attempt to present it in a form 
that shall be intelligible to a street child. Let the 
metaphysician, if he can, make the proposition clear 
to himself. When he has gone to the length of his 
plummet-line, and can sound no further, and, rebuked 
by the deep which is beneath him, he explores the 
other deep which is above him, and ascends upon the 
wings of his imagination until he has touched a region 
too rare for thought to be consecutive and useful to 
the reasoner, confounded by boundlessness in every 
direction in his search after the goal of truth and 
science, will not this be the result of his explorations ? 
— ' Canst thou by searching find out God ? canst thou 
find out the Almighty unto perfection ? It is high 
as heaven ; what canst thou do ? deeper than hell ; 
what canst thou know ? ' * The impression of your 
school child shall more than match that discovery ! 
While the sublime thinker is vainly seeking God in 
formless and voiceless tracts of thought, the unquestion- 
ing babe has heard Him in the night : the Almighty 
has passed by the elder, and given the revelation to 
the child. 

In attempting to command the ear of your youngest 
and rudest scholars when you are explaining to them 
moral distinctions, and striving to make them discern 
what is right in itself and what is duty in regard to it, 
and to set forth truth in thought as distinguished from 
expediency in action, you will succeed best and perhaps 
only at the moment when the imagination has been 
awakened by the idea of an unseen Presence, all-know- 

* Job xi. 7, 8. 


ing and watching over us all, the ' our Father ' of 
prayer and of praise. I am satisfied, from a long and 
curious observation of children, that they are capable 
of apprehending, not merely a moral idea, but the 
authority and relation of moral truths. As a rule, their 
abilities are underrated, and in many schools this error 
leads to a much graver mistake. They are delivered 
altogether into the hands of junior teachers. It requires 
much skill to give the first formal lesson to a very 
young child, especially a poor child, whose mind perhaps 
has been made precocious by want, whose senses have 
been depraved by unnatural provocations, whose con- 
science has never been disturbed from its birth-sleep ; 
and many such children will be placed under the 
care of those among you who will have charge of 
board schools. To examine the ground of a young 
mind, to select the spot upon which you propose to 
erect the edifice of the character, and to lay the 
first thought, demand the hand of a master-builder; 
other and inferior workers may help to raise the 
structure when this is done. But take care to pro- 
vide for such a service the highest ability you can 

In a former paragraph of this address, in speaking 
of your supreme opportunity of teaching when your 
pupils believe everything you say and approve every- 
thing you do, except when you punish them, I said that 
the teacher is the living book of the scholar. In that 
place I applied the observation to the matter of your 
teaching; in this place I shall apply it to the manner 
and spirit of your teaching. You, undoubtedly, will be 
the best read book in the school. Your personal in- 
fluence will be indissolubly mixed up with every school 
study Your actions will sometimes be a glossary to 
which the child will turn for the meaning of a word 


denoting some particular duty ; at other times they will 
be a code of rules for deportment, or a grammar of 
taste. The manner of teaching resembles style in 
writing. If the diction be harsh or involved, the writer 
may be as wise as Bacon, as witty as Swift, he composes 
to no purpose. On the other hand, graceful and polished 
language will secure readers even where the information 
is meagre or the matter trivial. When the teacher 
stands before his class, the subject of his lesson is so 
identified with himself that the children unconsciously 
measure the importance of it and the need of it by the 
manner in which he handles it. He can enforce the 
most distasteful precepts with perfect success if his 
way of persuasion makes it clear that he himself lives 
in the practice of them. His sympathy, generosity, 
and earnestness can make the hard road of learning a 
garden-walk for little feet to sport upon. Whatever 
arguments he may adduce to prove a statement, himself 
will be the greatest reason for believing it. This remark 
is of universal application when the scholars are in the 
rudiments of their studies, but it bears more forcibly 
when the lessons relate to morals and to personal con- 
duct. I introduce it, however, to show its bearing upon 
the teaching of religion. No instructor of children, if 
he has charge of them and they know him well, can 
separate the Bible lesson from himself. His class will 
regard it and him together. He reads or speaks of 
unseen things, some of them of appalling meaning. 
They will rush into the unoccupied fancy of the child, 
who will turn wistful eyes to the speaker to find out 
from his expression and manner whether they are true 
or not. To him they are not true, however clearly 
established, if there be indifference apparent in the 
teacher ; for that indifference will discredit them. I 
am not sure whether it would not be better in the 



interest of religion itself to strike out the Bible from 
the curriculum altogether, than in the presence of im- 
pressible children to associate its awful revelations with 
irreverent or frigid teaching. You will not be surprised, 
therefore, to observe in me some hesitation in admitting 
that any important result will follow from reading a 
chapter in the Bible in a Board school by a teacher 
who does not believe what he reads ; and this makes 
me pray that every State school in the kingdom may 
have within it a witness for Christ. The colleges we 
congratulate to-day may claim the support, not of the 
Methodist connexion only, but of all who wish pro- 
sperity to national education, for this reason, if for 
no other, that they educate Christian teachers for the 
schools of the nation. 

I am sure you will bear with me if I entreat you 
to ponder deeply this personal argument and its place 
among other proofs in the demonstrations of a Bible 
lesson. v Do not assume too readily that because you 
are believers, this argument will be the necessary 
adjunct of your expositions. You must take care that 
it shall be conspicuous, authoritative, and persuasive. 
I am afraid to say you should make it so, lest in the 
effort it should degenerate into a style, I will rather 
say, Live in so intimate a fellowship with the Sun of 
righteousness and with the blessed mysteries of his 
grace, that your look, your bearing, your very tones 
and accentuations shall be the visible irradiation of the 
light in which you walk. This evidence, powerful to 
all who witness it, captivates and convinces children 
instantly, because it is the figurative expression, and to 
them the reality, of the invisible world, and of the pre- 
sence of Him whom you teach them to call Father. It 
will necessarily happen that some of you will not be 
able- to devote much school time to Bible teaching. 


Sorely against your own will you may be compelled 
to allot to this study the briefest space; and indeed 
to restrict it to a short public reading for the whole 
school, perhaps forbidden to elucidate it by a comment. 
But with the illuminating testimony of your spirit and 
conduct, even the reading of the Word shall be a re- 
velation to the children ; and opportunities to do more 
than this may be commanded out of school hours. 
In conceiving to myself the unspeakable importance 
of a school teacher's position, I have always connected 
his influence in the neighbourhood with his activity 
in the school. I once visited a village in which our 
day-school master and his wife seemed to have the 
intellectual and spiritual charge of the entire popu- 
lation. He was eminently successful in the school; 
but he gave all his spare time to the families to which 
his children belonged. He had been there many years, 
and had transformed a wilderness into a garden. He 
was the authority and model of the village in music, 
in science, in manners, in Christian work, in sanctity 
of life ; the great enemy of the public-house ; the 
terror of the swearer and the drunkard. Photography 
was an uncommon art in those days, but he studied 
it to explain the science of it to his school, and 
astonished his simple admirers by grouping them in 
pictures. I mention this to point out that our friend 
enlarged the vulgar definition of a schoolmaster's call- 
ing, and set it forth in grand and noble lines, bringing 
within it the functions of the broadest Christian 

And now, dear students, I will release you from the 
attention you have given me. What I have said I could 
have wished better said. If I have awakened in you a 
higher conception of your duties by even one degree of 
elevation, if I have uttered words of encouragement in 



the prosecution of a difficult but a great Christian and 
national work, my labour, humble as it is, will not have 
been in vain in the Lord ; and to Him shall be rendered 
the praise. 







MY dear Young Feiends, — It is in my heart to 
address to you a few words at the beginning 
of the new year ; and as my voice cannot reach you, 
you must accept the remoter medium of the pen. Do 
not fear that this letter will be a sermon in disguise, a 
method of preparing for the taste what else would be 
disagreeable. Your good sense would not invite the 
artifice of a lesson sweetened for the palate ; it will 
rather welcome the utmost frankness of expression. I 
will add that in this circular epistle I shall speak to all 
classes of the Methodist youth ; the children of our 
families, of our schools, and of our congregations ; both 
those who have united themselves with us in Church 
fellowship, and those who belong to us by the associa- 
tions of the sanctuary and by the circles of the home. 

Let me say, in the first place, that the hope of 
Methodism is with you. As a Church, ' we live, if 
ye stand fast in the Lord.' There are several reasons, 
other than those which I am anxious to enforce, why 
Methodism should live on in you, and not die with us. 
Many among you have had a Methodist ancestry, and 


will not be easily persuaded to snap in sunder the links 
of duty, of reverence, and of love, which, running 
back into your childhood, have fastened themselves to 
the earliest memories of home. But the consideration 
I wish to urge furnishes a stronger motive for adhering 
to Methodism than even the ground of family tradition. 
God has made us a people, ' and not we ourselves.' In 
the chief events of our history, the shaping movements 
of his hand may be as plainly discerned as the skill of 
the potter when the lump gradually becomes a vessel ; 
and we shall not venture to say to him that formed 
us, 'Why hast thou made us thus?' Without pre- 
suming to conjecture what may be the ultimate form 
which our connexion is destined to assume, the heavenly 
Voice that drew together the first Methodists is the 
same which made St. Paul a minister to the Gentiles : 
'I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them 
from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan 
unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, 
and inheritance among them that are sanctified.' * 
The signs that followed the work of Mr. Wesley 
and his companions as clearly indicated the divinity 
of their call, as did the wonders which they wrought 
attest the mission of the apostles. They not only 
converted multitudes from the error of their ways, 
and diffused a new family life, but they changed the 
face of society throughout this kingdom. In the 
Churches a dead faith was quickened into life ; in the 
nation public law gained more respect, and public 
manners lost much of their coarseness. It cannot be 
disputed that statesmen and magistrates have regarded 
Methodism as a new force of morality and order. We 
do not suspect that any change of outline into which 

* Acts xxvi. 17, 18. 


the Methodist Church may grow can change our mission 
to the world. We still live to turn men ' from darkness 
to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.' The 
evils we were called to remove are still prevalent, and 
our numbers and organisation make us more able to 
deal with them. For us to dissolve now would be to 
withdraw from the reforming agencies of the world 
one of its greatest remedial forces. The reason of our 
existence as a Church cannot be denied while there are 
people living without God and without hope. We are 
passing away, and the work of saving a, lost world 
remains to be done ; instead of the fathers must be 
the children. And the children must take up the 
work : if they leave it, the dishonour will be theirs ; for 
c who shall declare their generation ? ' 

Let me caution you against the unbelief of the age. 
Do not attempt to flee from it : look at it steadfastly, 
and it will flee from you. It assumes the aspect of 
science : but science is not unbelief ; it is knowledge. 
There is a state of hesitation or suspense which is the 
natural temper of the scientific mind, and affords a 
kind of guarantee for the certainty of scientific facts. 
But this temper as a permanent habit has no business 
with morals and religion. To refuse to make up our 
mind to be godly because we are not satisfied with the 
alleged proofs of God's existence and of our own im- 
mortality, and to wait until death shall determine these 
questions for us, is absurd; for if it so happen that 
when we die, we live again, and stand face to face with 
God, we shall be convicted of the folly of not knowing 
him who really existed while we were doubting him, 
and at a time when, above all others, it was necessary 
we should know him. It is difficult to imagine that 
belief in God, and the conduct which springs from it, 
can have any place hereafter if they are not possible 


now. What is now called agnosticism is intellectual 
atheism. Let not your simplicity be ensnared by an 
unusual word. It is a very ancient form of ungodli- 
ness. David describes the jargon of the agnostic of his 
day : ' How doth God know ? and is there knowledge 
in the Most High ? ' — What proof have we that the 
first cause is an intelligent and personal being ? This 
non-belief has ever been associated and identified with 
a loose moral condition. You will hear it said that in 
many instances the conduct of avowed unbelievers is 
irreproachable. But such conduct is not the fruit of 
unbelief; it is the result of the restraints of Christian 
institutions, and of the inheritance of Christian habits. 
Atheism has trafficked with the morality of theism ; 
but has never herself originated a single moral lesson. 
The locomotive will run on the lines for a couple of 
miles after the steam has been shut off; but the steam 
which has escaped, and not the machinery, must be 
credited with the momentum. And if we all became 
•atheists to-morrow, and the inspiration of faith were 
universally to die, we should still go on for a few years 
upon the smooth rails of Christian law and example by 
the sheer force of the life which has hitherto propelled 
us. But what becomes of society when that force 
expires ? Consider it deeply, that those laws of author- 
ity and obedience which give sweetness and reality 
to freedom, and which create the charm and security 
of English homes, are the offspring of that religion 
which taught us to bow our knees ' unto the Father 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family 
in heaven and earth is named/ and that when you 
part with this religion, the surrender of everything in 
life which you deem most precious is only a question 
of time. Look narrowly upon those faults that ruffle 
the quiet or blur the purity of home-life, and you. 


will trace their spring to those dispositions which it 
is the mission of the Christian faith to check and 

The sovereign remedy for unbelief is work. The 
religion that merely muses is apt to become sickly, be- 
cause the most conclusive sign of its truth is found in 
its practical activity, in its fruits of goodness and help ; 
and where this support is wanting, the mind is easily 
staggered by any ( wind of doctrine ' that happens to 
sweep by. And how much work there is to be 
done ! and how few there are to do it ! The poor 
and the sick throng every path you tread ; and in the 
inclosed ways and retreats of your own homes there 
will be an unceasing demand for the ministry of every 
faculty and grace you possess. Love will teach you the 
skill to relieve, and furnish you with the means to 
enrich ; and this walking in the steps of Jesus will, more 
than anything else, make you conscious of the reality 
of his presence. Let me beseech you to devote your- 
selves to Church work : much of it can only be done 
when we are young, and the doing of it is the best 
training for the future and heavier tasks of life. Sab- 
bath-schools call for earnest teachers ; neglected neigh- 
bourhoods for visitors ; boys and girls, uncared for, are 
drifting into vice and ruin. Some of you have special 
abilities and opportunities for service in fields like these. 
Moreover, there are duties which you can undertake 
with more hope of success than older workers. We 
who have the authority of years may scold vice, and 
reason with it, and threaten it ; but nothing subdues it 
like the beseechings of childhood, whose rebuke is inno- 
cence and gentleness. Rough and savage men will take 
off their hats to a girl- visitor, receive a book from her 
hand, or, better still, the word of Christ from her lips. 

I shall offer no counsel here on the selection of 


books for study and general reading ; nor in regard to 
amusements shall I attempt to discriminate the harm- 
less from the hurtful. Advice on these subjects, if it 
travel beyond the border of a very obvious propriety, is 
generally unsatisfactory, and therefore seldom invited. 
It is unsatisfactory, because it can proceed on no sure 
principle : it may chance make its way to the conscience ; 
but as often will it miss the mark. Give yourselves 
wholly to the Lord. When the heart is absolutely 
Christ's the judgment is a safe casuist in matters of 
taste. Everything unholy will be unlovely. Let me 
beseech you to become the enrolled followers of Jesus. 
Do not be led astray by the vulgar sophism, that it is 
safer to show friendship towards religion than to make 
a profession of it. The unworthiness as well as vanity 
of this position will be seen at once if you remember 
that religion is personal attachment to Christ ; that he 
commands his friends to make their attachment an 
open confession ; and that life has neither duties, nor 
cares, nor pleasures, apart from him. In fact, when 
faith joins our spirit to the Son of God, even the body 
is taken into the fellowship and becomes the outer shrine 
of the divine Presence. 

There is nothing between this thorough adhesion 
to Christ and an open rejection of his claims, except 
that philanthropic patronage of faith which supports 
its public usefulness and declines to have any personal 
relations with it. This sentiment is so convenient, 
exacting from those who affect it neither the trouble of 
thinking nor the irksomeness of self-restraint, that it 
has become a creed among us, and passes for religion. 
Consider for a moment what it amounts to, and what 
it implies. I will venture to say that no satirist ever 
found a subject more congenial to the irony and banter 
of derision than the protecting air which many people 


assume towards the religion of Jesus. That a life 
consumed by earnestness and love for mankind should 
be simply admired ; that it should be possible for a man, 
without being aware of its burlesque, to become the 
patron of Gethsemane, and the well-wisher of the Cross ! 
I am persuaded that downright hostility, honestly and 
consistently maintained, is less offensive to God than 
this nauseous parody of Christian discipleship. e I 
would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou 
art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue 
thee out of my mouth.'* Shun, I beseech you, as 
you would the infection of a death-sickness, the 
character of a ' supporter ' of Christianity- Give to 
Christ mind and heart and life, or give him nothing. 
He asks not that his sayings may be quoted, and 
his name used as the warrant of benefactions and 
the ornament of charities ; he claims a union with 
us in which there shall be no allotment of partner- 
ship, but in which all the action of the two persons 
shall be absorbed into one movement, while the 
separate consciousness of each is preserved. 'I 
live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.'t 'To me 
to live is Christ.' J Even in these days of scientific 
scepticism there is no argument against the faith 
of the Gospel so impressive as the indifference of 
those who are supposed to hold it ; and let this 
thought never be absent from your mind, that to 
stand apart from the Church, to hold back from a 
participation in the work, the responsibilities, and the 
fellowships of a public confession of your faith, is to 
give their sharpest weapon to the enemies of Christ. 
He was crucified by stranger hands; but he was 
delivered into those hands by a ' friend.' 

* Rev. iii. 15, 16. f Gal. ii. 20. $ Phil. i. 21. 


As I write these words to stir your minds, I 
remember that impressions are fleeting ; and that when 
we compel them to remain with us until they become 
the settled motive of resolution, even resolution is frail 
and is apt to break under us like a reed. Let me, 
then, lead you to the secret place of strength : * Enter 
into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, 
pray to thy Father which is in secret ; and thy Father 
which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.' * 
The saints of old were accused of unmanly seclu- 
sion. In these days, life seems to have no privacy ; and 
piety, like a frightened traveller, snatches both rest 
and food as it hurries through its duties, as if a 
danger lurked in reflection and retirement. But if you 
would make sure of the ground upon which your faith 
rests, cherish the habit of observing a stated time, day 
by day, for the study of the holy Scriptures and for 
meditation upon God, as well as prayer to God. I 
have Tsaid that Church work is a remedy for un- 
belief; but no work can be well done unless the faith 
and the heart of the worker be refreshed and ' renewed 
day by day ' f You have no enemy more dangerous 
than the temptation that would filch from you the 
golden minutes consecrated, to your private interviews 
with God. In everything else judicious solitude is the 
spring of open success. As a tree attains its strength 
and loftiness by the unseen and silent ministry of the 
soil, so great characters are built up in secret. May he 
who was wont to withdraw 'apart to pray,' and to con- 
tinue ' all night in prayer to God,' % put the spirit of his 
example within you ! and then neither the frailty of 
resolutions, nor the subtle dissimulations of self, nor 
the snares of thought and passion that waylay you in 

* Matt. vi. 6. f 2 Cor. iv. 16. % Luke vi. 12. 


books and in intercourse, shall be able to move you 
c away from the hope of the Gospel.' 

The new year will find many of us overweighted 
by duties yet to be discharged, by errors yet to be 
atoned for, by failures which have not been retrieved, 
even if their sin has been forgiven, and by memories 
which sadden the felicities of the season. In another 
sense than that in which the poet meant it, we c drag a 
lengthening chain. 5 But to you the step of Time is 
light, swift, and joyous. We seem to linger behind in 
the past : you in your imagination live in the years to 
come. I would not have the prospect of your hope 
dimmed by even a thought of gloom. But let me ex- 
hort you to meet the new year with Him at your right 
hand, 6 whose goings forth have been from of old, from 
everlasting.' His presence will not mar the festival, 
but will give a meaning to its congratulations, a reality 
to its vows, a practical force to its lessons, and a crown 
to its happiness. There is laid up in the year for this 
poor world of ours great store of sorrow, of conflict, 
and of work. May Christ make for us the gladness 
of the first days, and this shall be our strength for the 
part that may be assigned to us this year in the never- 
ceasing advancement of good, and. in the slow but 
inevitable conquest of evil ; for ' the kingdoms of this 
world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of 
his Christ ; and he shall reign for ever,' 





• >— «w £ . 

Delivered at the Watchnight Service in the Mornington-boad 
Wesletan Chapel, Southport, December 31st, 1880. 

TWELVE months ago we entered upon the duties 
* and the responsibilities of the year in this sanc- 
tuary. We committed ourselves with many penitent 
reflections to the forgiving love and covenant care of 
our heavenly Father. That period is about to close. 
It is now rounding off, and in a few moments it will be 
detached in the reckonings of human chronology. To 
bestow a few moments upon it while it is yet ours : 
to consider our relation to it, what we have lost in it, 
what we have taken from it, and what we still retain, 
is the wisdom of the present hour. 

In one respect our relative positions as to time 
are the same. A year of life has gone. This is 
a circumstance of no mean importance even to the 
young, but to some of us it is an event of extreme 
gravity We have one year less for work, and the 
year that has gone (gone for any practical purpose) 
found us with faculties which former years had been 


maturing and preparing for work; or with declining 
powers, bidding us to make haste if any more work 
was to be done. It follows, therefore, that in either 
case the departing year has been more precious in 
value than any preceding period. But, whatever its 
worth, it is gone ; and no honest and thoughtful man, 
however conscientiously he has lived through its days 
and weeks and months, can remember his own expen- 
diture of its time without dissatisfaction and regret. 
He feels that what has been done might have been 
better done, that more might have been done, and that 
these drawbacks cannot fairly be described as inevi- 
table, as if he were not answerable for them, but as 
adding to the already over-burdened fault of his life. 

Time with us is not the measure of existence ; we 
do not regard our personal life as a contribution of 
knowledge, of experience, and of example, to the sum 
reserved for future generations, we in the meantime 
dying into annihilation. We are immortal, and what- 
ever we may leave behind, we are passing on to per- 
sonal judgment, 'for we shall all stand before the 
judgment-seat of Christ.'* The sentiment awakened in 
us when we think of the shortcomings of the year is 
not regret, but repentance. We have not been unfor- 
tunate creatures, but unfaithful stewards ; and, as no 
man liveth unto himself, our life has affected for good or 
for evil the life of others. So that, if we consider our 
present situation in its proper light, a heavy deficit in 
the returns of duty and of work must be set over 
against us. 

There is something very impressive and instructive, 
apart from its typical importance, in the annual con- 
fession which Israel was commanded to make of a 

* Rom. xiv. 10. 


year's sins, and in the discharge of those sins by 
the atonement of the scapegoat, that no reckoning 
on either side might disturb the balance of the new 
account. You may remember that a debtor's liabilities 
were placed on an innocent life, and he was free to 
begin the year guiltless ; as if the life of the nation 
could not go on, as if it would be blocked, without 
this annual disburdening of its sin. Now, the type has 
given place to a real transaction ; we have a veritable 
altar, the victim, the priest ; and this is my exhort- 
ation, that we confess the sins of the year, placing 
the hand of faith upon the head of the Lamb that was 
slain and yet lives, in whom the Father caused to 
meet the iniquity of us all,* the privilege of which 
release is made sure to every one who believes. 

This is the duty enjoined by the present service. 
It is true that we have an atonement every moment ; 
and we may receive the forgiveness of sins at any time. 
But I wish to apply that historical passage in respect of 
the annual recurrence of confession. And in confessing 
our sins we need not be perplexed in any endeavour to 
order our speech before God, to single out our sins, and 
to count the countless before the Most High. The 
spirit of confession is what he himself demands ; and 
the spirit of confession is the present surrender of the 
sin, the acknowledgment of its guilt, and the resolution 
of its absolute renunciation ; and if in the depth of our 
souls we are honest, the old year's sins will go with 
the old year, they shall not pass with us into the new 
year. We shall take our sorrow for them; we shall 
take their results upon our person and character. We 
shall not be able to annul the injury which they 
have done to other people. But we shall not go into 

* Isa. liii. 6. 


the new year with guilt ; and the thankful spirit of 
reconciliation when we know that our Father has no- 
thing against us will be the best strength, the best 
kind of force by which we shall avoid the sins which 
we now confess, and be able to address ourselves to 
those duties in the performance of which we have been 
infirm or faithless in the past. 

Who will go with me into the new year with a 
new heart ? Who with me will avail himself of the 
offer of pardon ? Who with me will put his hand on 
the Victim in the spirit of confession, and transfer all 
the sins of the year, that they may become Christ's, and 
that we may be forgiven ? There is one feature of 
God which I think I understand more clearly than ever 
before. My experience, as I go on in life, seems to 
diminish the obscurity of my conception of God's love, 
especially in its application to a forgiving act. I did 
believe in former days that it was difficult to obtain it ; 
I imagined that the forgiveness of sins must be wrung 
from a reluctant God : but I think I have a more correct 
view of it, as being prevalent as the air and as the light 
to every heart that will open itself for it, and that the 
impeding force in regard to the forgiveness of sins lies 
in the heart that must be forgiven, and not in him who 
imparts the blessing. 

You who know the forgiveness of sins by experi- 
ence, lift up your hearts ! These are sources of 
humiliation which even forgiveness cannot exhaust. 
Christ is with us, going into the new year ; the blood 
of sprinkling is the blood of the High Priest himself, 
and its virtue is prevalent now. There may be in this 
select congregation one, who is a stranger to God, 
drawn to this watch-night service, perhaps by the 
superstition that if it be seldom visited at other times, 
it may be well to close the year in the sanctuary ; who 


has never spent one hour with God during the year of 
all those hours which are now closing ; who has never 
yet done one act of which God has approved ; who has 
received the new compassions of the Father morning 
by morning, and night by night : for the year has been 
'crowned with lovingkindness and tender mercies;' 
and who has never yet lifted up one glance either of 
faith or gratitude, or even recognition : living without 
God. Thank God ! I can preach to that alien a free 
Gospel and a quick Gospel too. 

I beseech you, then, by the mercies of the year, 
for, if you have not acknowledged them, there have 
been mercies sent to you from the beginning of the 
year to the present moment, I beseech you by those 
mercies to turn to the Giver, and for the first time 
during the year lift up the eye to God in worship with 
us ! I beseech you to remember that the new year 
upon which we are entering may be the last year of 
your life ; nay, the last direct opportunity of hearing 
the Gospel may be the opportunity of to-night. And 
if God has touched your heart, and you feel that you 
would like to commence a religious life, a life of faith 
in the Son of God, and yet that such a life presents 
to you mountainous difficulties that you cannot see 
through and cannot look over, let me remind you that 
when on a memorable night another stranger to salva- 
tion and one more remote from the apprehension of 
God than you can be, and hardly accessible to Christian 
ideas, cried, ' What must I do to be saved ? ' the name 
of Jesus in that same night lifted him out of the 
' horrible pit ' of his superstition and made a pagan a 
witness for God. The Power that wrought that miracle 
is present this night to repeat it upon you. 





» !x » ♦ » ^* « 

Deliyeeed in Beixton-hill Chapel on Tuesday, 
Apeil 19th, 1881. 

I CAN hardly feel the reality, or apprehend at pre- 
sent the significance, of the event that has 
brought us together to-day, albeit the presence of the 
dead in our midst demonstrates both the one and the 
other to the sense and to the imagination. Before 
this last blow fell upon us, it had pleased God during 
this connexional year, which has yet three months to 
run, to smite our Church with several important be- 
reavements, three of which are sufficiently disastrous 
to make the losses of one year memorable — the deaths 
of Sir Francis Lycett, of Samuel Coley, and of Frederick 
James Jobson. And now William Morley Punshon has 
been struck down in the midst of his work, in the 
fulness of his strength, and at a time when, of all 
others, as it seemed to us, his extraordinary gifts and 
reputation were demanded to help the Connexion in, 

d 2 


perhaps, the most critical period of its history. In 
each of the other cases I have mentioned, the stroke 
was partly broken by the premonition of its approach, 
but in this instance it descended upon us almost 
without warning. We were secure in our possession 
and in our hope at one moment, and in the next our 
house was left unto us desolate. There had been, 
as you are aware, considerable, we scarcely believed 
ominous, physical derangement; but there was no 
doubt in the mind of any one of us, including, I be- 
lieve, his medical adviser, that perfect and prolonged 
rest would bring back to their wonted tone a heart 
strained to exhaustion by sorrow and care, and a mind 
overtaxed, not only by official obligations, but by 
engagements, made in fatal forgetfulness of self, to help 
everybody and every cause. We know now that the 
provision for repose, to which we compelled our dear 
colleague to consent, ought to have been made several 
months ago, and would have been made but for the 
stubborn reluctance with which he received every pro- 
posal to go out of harness, even for a week ; and even 
his holidays were not seasons of relaxation, but varia- 
tions of toil. His public movements were watched, his 
resting for a night in town or village was an event for 
the Methodists of the place; a service was exacted, 
and the largest hall was obtained and crowded with 
people anxious to hear the great orator. It was this 
tension of energy, never relaxed, never graduated to 
meet just the requirements of a service, for he gave 
out all his strength, whether the audience numbered 
five hundred or five thousand, it was this prodigal ex- 
penditure of force from a very early period of his 
remarkable career, and during a life charged with the 
excitements, the anxieties, and the vicissitudes of an 
unequalled popularity, that bowed down in the prime 


of his might the Samson of our Israel. There is no 
ground for surprise at the event which has made the 
Connexion at home and abroad mourn as one man, and 
has pierced the hearts of multitudes who belong to us 
because they belong to Christ our common Head, and 
who share our loss in that a prince and a great man 
has fallen this day in Israel. We may rather wonder 
in reviewing calmly Dr. Punshon's course, and recalling 
the work which he did during a ministry of thirty- six 
years in this country, also in Canada and America, the 
quality of that work and its results, and remembering 
his acute personal sufferings, bereavements, and griefs, 
— griefs that eat into a man's heart and life, espe- 
cially if he be a public man, — I say we may rather 
wonder that even strength such as he possessed did 
not under a strain like this collapse long ago. 

In Dr. Punshon our Church possessed a rare gift 
from the Father of lights. His mind comprised two 
classes of faculties, not often found together in 
equal display, the imaginative and the practical; and 
an imperious intellect governed both, giving to the 
imaginative power a definite work, and to the practical 
a logical coherency and consistency. The surpassing 
endowment of his youth was memory, and it made his 
mind a vast storehouse of knowledge, much of it in 
the very word form in which it was acquired, like one 
of those Common Place Boohs in which the fathers 
used to amass the gains of their reading. He not only 
forgot nothing, but commanded everything he had 
learned. It is not unlikely, though of this I cannot 
speak with precise knowledge, that in the time of his 
earlier growth his memory somewhat fettered the action 
of his other powers ; but these asserted themselves con- 
spicuously in his later years, when called into use by 
the various responsibilities of official life. The gifts 


which I have mentioned, when there is a commanding 
physique, make an orator ; if education and opportunity 
concur, a statesman ; if taste and the success of 
earlier attempts determine it, a poet. William Morley 
Punshon selected none of these professions ; he was 
led by the star of Providence to the place where the 
young Child lay, and brought the tribute of his life, 
the gold, frankincense, and myrrh of his genius, and 
placed them at the feet of Jesus, all unconscious of 
the worth of his offering ; and if he had suspected its 
value, he would have considered it too mean to merit 
the grace of his Lord's acceptance. The inward con- 
viction of a call to be Christ's herald decided for him 


the nature of his work, and he became a Methodist 
preacher, the first and last distinction of his life. 
He aspired to no loftier place on earth than the 
Methodist pulpit, and it soon became apparent that 
God had raised up a messenger to the Churches 
endowed with exceptional power. I believe he had 
little professional training for the pulpit ; but whether 
eminence were granted to him or denied to him, he 
purposed, by divine help, to show himself approved 
unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, 
rightly dividing the Word of truth. He knew there 
was no royal road to pulpit power ; he knew that being 
called into the ministry the pulpit was the central 
position of his calling, and not a stepping-stone to 
something -else. He was sometimes found elsewhere, 
but he brought with him the inspiration of the preacher, 
and rendered eloquent service out of the pulpit in the 
cause of the pulpit. But he would have deemed his life 
a failure, if not a mockery, if, whatever else had pro- 
spered, his pulpit had failed ; and his most careful work, 
and his chief joy to the last, was preaching Jesus. 
Dr. Punshon was eminently the servant of his 


people. It was Lis pride, if I may use that expression, 
to represent Methodism in high places : to prove, in 
himself, and on behalf of his brethren, that God had not 
only called us to do evangelical work, but had raised up 
among us a ministry containing in itself, under the Head 
of the Church, the ultimate authority of a ministry. 
His attitude towards other religious bodies in this 
respect was an admirable example of independence ; 
all the more remarkable because his reverence for anti- 
quity was sensitive and enthusiastic. This manliness 
explains in part his popularity among his brethren ; 
I say in part, because there was another prevailing 
charm in the genial and modest temper which marked 
his intercourse with other ministers, and in the absence 
of all pretension and flourish of power, making his 
great qualities even more conspicuous, as they were 
winning and accessible to all who desired to engage 
them. He did not mark his dissent from other 
Churches, or obtrude the peculiarities of his own 
Church when an unsectarian pulpit borrowed his 
defence on behalf of some catholic institution or 
society. I always considered his behaviour on these 
occasions an excellent pattern of dignity, moderation, 
and charity- His theme generally transcended party 
limits, and the claims of one Lord and the com- 
prehension of one faith brought the crowd of many 
sects into the unison of one Church under the spell 
of this master of assemblies. 

The bearing of his mind towards the sceptical spirit 
of the day was equally remarkable; happily for the 
power and usefulness of his ministry he had no intel- 
lectual sympathy with doubt, but he had much sym- 
pathy with doubters, whose distrust was timid and 
tentative and anxious; not because of any reserved 
questioning of his own, but mental solicitude of this 


class appealed to his love of honesty and to his tender- 
ness for distress. Moreover, his mind was too large 
and too generous to consider everybody in the wrong 
place who did not s'tand just where he stood, or who 
reached their standpoint by other steps than those 
which had conducted bim to his position. In his own 
case, between conviction of sin and the cross of Jesus, 
he lost no time and no space, either by loitering in, 
indecision, or by hesitation in reasoning. He went by 
revelation, which is the nearest way, and, in fact, what- 
ever may impede us meantime, the only way : and he 
proclaimed a salvation not discovered by reason, but 
manifested to faith. He believed with a kind of un- 
tutored simplicity, and preached results rather than 
processes; he preached to the people and for the 
people ; and although he sometimes soared high or 
dived deep, it was seldom in pursuit of abstract ideas. 
In such instances, he was generally following the issue 
of some well known thought into unexpected regions 
of consequence, demolishing the hopeless security of 
the sinner, or letting in a new light upon the spirit of 
the inquirer, or rebuking the unchivalrous infirmity of 
depression in the followers of Christ. But wherever 
his mind conducted his hearers he was never in a mist. 
He had built up his own style, and it was not another's ; 
it was the visible image of his mind, a body that grew 
out of it, and not a robe woven for it. An imitator 
may take the picture words of this great preacher, and 
use them, and be unintelligible as well as ridiculous. 
He was never vague, let his language be ever so 
uncommon; his robust sense and unaffected earnest- 
ness made every expression contribute to the clearness 
and force of his meaning ; and at times, when under 
the sway of strong feeling, his style assumed an extra- 
ordinary simplicity and compression and vigour. Many 


of us will recollect that in preaching he had a habit of 
pausing at the close of an argument, or at the winding 
up of an eloquent declamation, and of turning to make 
a personal appeal to those hearers whose case he had 
been discussing ; and suddenly changing the note of 
his voice he would begin a strain — methinks I hear him 
now — of pathetic beseeching, so melting, so imploring, 
so irresistible that you felt that even in this case it 
was not in word only, or mainly, but in power and in 
the Holy Ghost and in much assurance, and that the 
preacher had overtaken the souls he was seeking, and 
had secured them for his Lord. I remember one 
instance that occurred in this chapel, when he was 
standing in this pulpit, and pressing guilty men to 
look to the Lamb of God, when one of the most intel- 
ligent of his hearers ventured, as he presented the 
truth, to look up, and was saved. There can be no 
doubt that in this quiet way multitudes were delivered 
under the word which God gave to his servant, either 
receiving the bias of their first step from captivity to 
freedom, or the final assurance of their redemption. 

I never knew Dr. Punshon intimately before my 
appointment to the Mission House. My missionary life 
had enabled me to appreciate the character of his ser- 
vices on behalf of missions ; and I think that not even 
in the lecture hall — mighty as he was there — was his 
oratory half so impressive as when on the platform of 
a Missionary Society. The prophetic element of Mis- 
sions fascinated him ; it was just fitted to kindle his 
imagination ; and then his sympathy on behalf of the 
heathen, sitting in darkness, his grasp of detail, and his 
strong faith in the ultimate empire of his Lord ; all 
these qualities concurred to make him one of the most 
powerful missionary speakers ever given to any Church. 
But I did not know how much heart was in this work 


until in the close association of counsel and mutual re- 
sponsibility I discerned what I cannot otherwise describe, 
though I use a very sacred word, than as the travail of 
his soul, when the details and stress of administration 
threatened to impede the advancement of missionary 
success. I heard him say playfully not long before his 
death, that he was risking the little reputation he had 
as a platform speaker, by perpetually dwelling upon the 
prosy necessities of finance. His later eloquence was 
certainly born of care and earnest concern ; but even 
then he was not one whit less effective than when 
speaking under brighter impulses. So far as I could 
judge, from a very near and constant look, he was dili- 
gent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord : 
in work untiring, in co-operation not jealous of, but 
jealous for, his colleagues, making their character and 
honour, by almost clannish appropriation, his own. 
And to go back to the Mission House, to its vast 
responsibilities, in the present critical condition of its 
resources, and miss him ! May God be our refuge and 
strength ; a very present help in trouble ! 

The last scene of his life was brief. There was no 
evening, and not even twilight. His day was like a day in 
the gorgeous East, where there is no interval of dying 
light ; the glory is shut up in a moment, and all is grey. 
Until within the last few hours he was not aware that 
his end was approaching, and yet he must have had 
intimations of it in his own mind. He had no fear of 
death, but he said to a friend who asked him if he had 
a fear : l Oh the rapture of living ! the rapture of 
living ! I do not like to feel that my work is done ! ' 
Not long before his death he said to his medical man, 
' Is this death?' The physician replied, 'Yes.' He 
rejoined, * Thank God ! Jesus is to me a bright reality.' 
I believe his last words were uttered to Mrs. Punshon, 


and they were these, — e Love Jesus, and meet me in 
his presence.' So he went into the problem of life, 
and now understands it. ' Absent from the body, pre- 
sent with the Lord.' May our prayers be heard on 
behalf of the poor, stricken widow, that the God of 
peace may be with her at this supreme moment ! and 
may the fatherless find in Him a Father ! As a fitting- 
close to this service, I will read an exquisite verse by 
which our friend, now at rest, enriched the praise of 
the Sabbath in our hymn-book; we will then offer 
it together in prayer : — 

' When by our bed the loved ones weep, 
And death-dews o'er the forehead creep, 
And vain is help or hope from men : 
Jesus, our Lord ! receive us then.' 






Delivered in Eastbrook Chapel, Bradford, on Mondat, 

May 23rd, 1881. 

' TFSn this life only we have hope in Christ we are 
JL of all men most miserable.' But we who live 
in Jesus shall sleep in Jesus, and rise again in Jesus. 
Sleep does not divide the family of God; for to this 
end Christ both died and rose and revived, that He 
might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. * 
' One family we dwell in Him,' whether we wake or 
sleep. But for this hope we should not merely have 
sorrow and perplexity to-day, but despair. I cannot 
find any expressions fitted to represent the mourning 
of our Society which during the last few months has 
been evoked by an unparalleled succession of bereave- 
ments, and which has reached its climax by this last 
stroke, following so quickly the blow which staggered 
the Connexion the other day. It seems to our earthly 

* Rom. xiv. 9. 


sense a violation of order that a man who last Monday 
was in our midst in the prime of extraordinary powers, 
working for good and against evil with the courage and 
energies of a giant, should now be lying before us in 
the posture and condition befitting the spent frame of 
age, and the end of a finished life. But the Father of 
lights, of the constellations as well as of the heavenly 
bodies of the Church, who holdeth the stars in his 
right hand, sometimes ordains that a brilliant and far- 
shining light shall go down while it is yet day. So 
it has been with the careers of William Morley Punshon 
and of William Overend Simpson. Masters of utterance 
while they lived, they have in death a power of speech 
more moving in its silent tones, more persuasive in 
its arguments, than the eloquence that commanded 
us while they lived. 

I first knew Mr. Simpson in India in 1854. He 
resided with me during the early days of his missionary 
life. The character of his dedication was instantly 
apparent. We had an attractive English society in 
Madras, and the popularity of Mr. Simpson's ministra- 
tions, which drew to the chapel hearers of all classes and 
made a noise outside our own Church, might have 
flattered the vanity and divided the consecration of an 
ordinary missionary. But before he left college he 
had made up his mind — and when he did so nothing 
could move him — to be a messenger to the heathen. 
Preliminary reading about India and Hindu life had 
awakened his curiosity, touched his sympathy, and 
kindled his imagination ; and he found the impression 
of the student infinitely surpassed by the realisation 
of the traveller and the missionary. And, disdaining 
to consult the inferior sentiments of self-complacency 
and the love of place, he obeyed the heavenly voice 
which said to him, ' Depart, for I will send thee far 


hence unto the Gentiles.' He threw himself into 
mission work, and left behind him neither reservation 
nor regret. He first set himself to master the language 
of the people. I seem to hear his voice now — for his 
room was next to mine — trying to repeat after his 
teacher those strange sounds which contained in them- 
selves the key that could unlock the heart of millions. 
He studied not merely their language but their faith, 
not so much in its philosophy and literature as in 
its current expressions. He did not neglect the 
writings of the Shasters, but he preferred to study 
Hinduism in the Bazars, in the festivals, and, so far as 
the foreigner is permitted to penetrate it, in the home- 
life of the people. He was a model missionary pastor. 
He allowed no race distinctions to mar his intercourse 
with the native Church. Neither business nor pride 
ever made him inaccessible to the poorest child of his 
flock. His heart was as remarkable for the warmth of 
its sympathies as for the breadth of its charities. Upon 
young men of rank, especially Brahmins and others of 
that class, his life acted like a charm. They are shrewd 
readers of character, and the union in him of great 
talents with unaffected humility, the blending of the 
authority of the teacher with the simplicity of the child, 
was a feature which they had not been accustomed to 
associate with a proud Englishman ; and their reverence 
and love for him secured their following when he con- 
ducted them to the Shepherd of souls. I do not think 
that even Dr. Duff or Mr. Anderson produced a more 
vivid personal impression upon their converts than did 
Mr. Simpson on the young men whom he was instru- 
mental in bringing to Christ. 

When after ten years of ardent and happy labour — 
labour whose fruits remain to this day — in Trichinopoly, 
Manargudi, Negapatam, and Madras, Mr. Simpson 


returned to England, as it was hoped, only for a brief 
holiday, it pleased Him who giveth no account of his 
ways, to decree that the missionary career of this 
labourer in the foreign field should fail in the latter 
harvest of its promise ; for when on the eve of return- 
ing to India, to resume the work which of all others 
he loved best, the health of Mrs. Simpson gave way, 
and there crept slowly on, in ever-deepening shade, 
that terrible darkness which enveloped the following 
years of his family life. Crushed by the overwhelming 
pressure of a double collapse — first of his missionary 
hopes, and then of the light of his home, he bowed 
low at the footstool of the throne from which he had 
received the command and credentials of his first com- 
mission, and said, ' It is the Lord ; let him do what 
seemeth him good.' You know as well as I do that 
this was a trial of which little can be said; and no 
one except his children, and the few who formed the 
inner circle of his relatives, can appreciate the noble- 
ness of his unconquered faith in God and his undivided 
obedience to the divine will. 

His first English circuit was Hackney, though he 
had laboured for some months previously in Manchester. 
He was appointed to Hackney in 1867. His fame 
had preceded him, for his speech at Exeter Hall that 
year had placed him in the front rank of platform 
orators. It was a memorable meeting. The Lord 
Mayor of London was in the chair that year, and the 
chief speakers were Wm. Arthur (who was President), 
W Morley Punshon, Charles Garrett, and W 0. 
Simpson. The peroration of Mr. Simpson's speech 
on that occasion was one of the most chaste and ex- 
quisite passages of eloquence that even an Exeter Hall 
audience had ever listened to. His success as a circuit 
minister was immediate, and never failing. His cha- 


racteristic feature in the pulpit and on the platform was 
force, and this was sometimes overwhelming. His 
physical temperament was a restless spring of life, 
and in many respects that temperament determined 
the expression of both mind and heart. His most 
striking faculty was imagination. It was wild as the 
fancy of a child, and yet intensely rational. He 
saw an object at once, saw it in all its aspects, the 
grotesque equally with the grave ; and it was copied 
into language with the suddenness and fidelity of a 
photograph. With the same quickness he put it to 
any use he wished it to serve — illustration, analogy, 
adornment. There was a roughness in his manner, 
and what appeared to be an unstudied style of handling 
his subject, that hardly prepared the hearer for so fine 
and chastened an inspiration of poetry as that which 
sometimes characterised his sermons and speeches. 
His reasoning power was second to his imagination, 
but the faculty was vigorous and manly. He was 
not skilled in school methods of argument; he had 
his own way of constructing a proof, and striking 
it home ; and he seldom missed his mark. His reason 
and imagination troubled themselves little about pro- 
cesses of preparation. They went quietly on their 
way, carrying everything before them. As a preacher 
he had the pre-eminent advantage of being a childlike 
and happy believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was 
full of faith. He never reasoned with the Gospel ; he 
reasoned with sinners : the Gospel was his message. 
He was not disposed to justify or to apologise for it. 
He proclaimed it, and was a little less patient with the 
unbelief of the day than some of us are disposed to be. 
He took pains with the honest inquirer, and found 
a genial task, as many of you know, in helping the 
timid spirit to take heart, and venture on Jesus. He 


assailed a mocking and flippant scepticism with a power 
of ridicule and sarcasm which I have never seen sur- 
passed. There was no anger in it; it was too tri- 
umphant to be angry. We all remember that facial 
expression of grim comedy which was the prelude of 
his terrific banter in dealing with those whom no other 
weapon would reach. It reminded one of the destruc- 
tive irony of the prophet of Carmel. 

There was another power in this many-gifted 
minister which of late years impressed a new feature 
upon his circuits, and upon his general work also. He 
was a man of business, an eminent utilitarian, a man 
studious of results. He believed in the power of the 
sermon, and in the power of the speech : but he regarded 
that power not so much as an instrument of personal 
impression, as the initial force of practical action ; and 
he came down from the pulpit and from the platform, 
not to retire to his study to muse upon what he had 
done, but to take the lead in carrying into the world 
the philanthropy of the Church. There was no line of 
work to which he was indifferent and for which he had 
not some appropriate faculty His loyalty as a Method- 
ist preacher was without spot, but his large heart 
carried him far beyond the boundaries of connexional 
limits. He studied the condition of the working man 
— his temptations, his rights, his frailties, his powers ; 
and by lectures, readings, and speeches, and by the 
promotion of a healthy, popular literature, he sought 
to carry the promise of the life that now is into the 
homes of the people. And he never forgot to insist 
that this promise is inseparable from the life that is 
to come. His labours in Sabbath-school work present 
another illustration of the versatility of his mind 
and of the practical aim of his ministry- The Sunday- 
school Union has lost one of its most zealous and ablest 



supporters. His voice and pen were devoted to its 
service, and few men among us had more thoroughly 
mastered the great Sunday-school question in its 
relation to the Church. During the last few years 
he acquired considerable influence in Conference de- 
bates. Had he lived there is no position among us 
for which he would not have proved himself an eli- 
gible candidate. He was beloved as well as admired 
by his brethren, and there is scarcely a department 
of Methodist administration which his death has not 

The loss to our Missionary Society is not so easily 
reckoned. It would have been less if Dr. Punshon had 
been spared : but that the missionary cause of Method- 
ism should lose, within the interval of ten weeks, two 
advocates like the senior secretary of the society, my 
lamented colleague, and Mr. Simpson, each, on a mis- 
sionary platform, in his own particular style without a 
rival in oratorical force and popularity, is a connexional 
reverse which cannot be measured, and which, happily 
for us, happily for the Methodist Church of the past, 
has had few if any parallels ! Mr. Simpson would have 
been an eloquent defender of missions if he had never 
laboured in foreign fields ; but when he stood before us 
with the authority of a witness, and when his personal 
testimony was invested with the charm of narrative, of 
incident, and of story, recounting the efforts, the vicis- 
situdes, and the triumphs of missionary life, he presented 
a perfect example of the missionary apologist. But 
God's work depends upon Himself, and not on the 
instruments He appoints to direct it. This is the lesson 
of the hour, and just now it is a hard lesson. God help 
us to receive it ! The strength of a Church will be in 
proportion to the sentiment which governs the selection 
of its ministers ; and if when we have carefully prepared 


them, we ascribe the excellency of their power to 
Him only who fashioned them, and lent them to us, 
then we may be strong in the hope that their succession 
will never fail. If these sudden and appalling strokes 
of discipline bring the Master of all nearer to his 
people ; if, while companions and co-workers are falling 
around us, we can in a clearer light see Him standing 
in our midst, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, 
and hear the words by which he once aroused the 
lethargy of Israel's grief over the fall of its leader, 
c Be strong and of good courage, be not afraid, neither 
be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with 
thee whithersoever thou goest,'* — we shall not have 
been smitten in vain. The account of our dear and 
lamented brother's decease can be given in a moment. 
There was an indirect premonition of the event last 
year ; but it was so slight that, but for this fatal con- 
summation, it would have escaped serious notice. In 
Mr. Simpson himself there was no perceptible abate- 
ment of energy or of intellectual vigour, and, I regret 
to say, he permitted himself but little indulgence of 
rest. His latest efforts in public exhibited his mind 
and character in undiminished lustre. A few moments 
before his death he delivered an able speech on the 
Schools' question. Then the work was done. There 
was not even the briefest summons to set his house in 
order. It was translation rather than death ; a moment' s 
space between the presence of his brethren and the 
presence of the Lord ! 

The last note I received from him was in reference 
to some arrangement respecting his eldest son, who was 
accepted at the last Conference as a candidate for the 
ministry. Instead of the father we have the son. God 

* Josh. i. 9. 

E 2 


bless that young man, and make him a worthy suc- 
cessor of the dead ! God visit the mother and the 
children in their affliction, and fill with his guardian 
care and love the vacant place of the husband and 
the father ! 





in EXETER HALL, APRIL 6th, 188: 


APART from the propriety of assigning to your 
lordship the presidency of this meeting this 
year, the committee could hardly have selected for their 
chairman a truer or more practical friend of popular 
education than yourself. As a Methodist layman in the 
front rank in influence and in counsel, you have known 
this Wesley an education movement from its begin- 
ning, and have marked its steps of advancement in 
Methodist opinion and in Conference legislation until 
the attainment of the position which we report to-day. 
There have been many changes since the time when 
the Conference sanctioned our first plan of day-school 
education in 1841 : but on two questions there has been 
no change whatever, even in a Body so liberal in its 
provision for independent thought as Wesleyan Method- 
ism. First, the question that relates to the basis of 
primary education, that this should be laid in the religious 
conscience of the children ; and, secondly, that which 


concerns the rights of the subject, that freedom from 
the intolerance of sectional bigotry should be secured 
by an adequate conscience clause. On those two ques- 
tions there have been no divisions amongst us ; we 
have been perfectly joined together in the same mind 
and in the same judgment. We have watched the 
action of the government from time to time in relation 
to these questions with steady vigilance; and when 
we have thought legislation either insufficient or 
obstructive, we have made our voice heard, and we 
think our influence felt, not only on behalf of Methodist 
work, but in the promotion and support of those great 
principles of religious toleration and fair play all round, 
without which a great system of national education 
cannot possibly be built up. When the government 
bill of 1870 brought the education question into a 
new position, we were compelled to admit that the 
voluntary efforts of independent bodies could never 
overtake the necessities of the nation ; that outside the 
remotest limits of Churches and Charities there were 
millions of English children, whose pagan ignorance 
was a reproach to a Christian realm ; and we hailed 
the auxiliary of the Board school. Some of our friends 
thought that the advent of that institution would 
mark the close of voluntary effort ; that the history of 
Wesleyan day-school education had reached the last 
paragraph of its last chapter; and that since the 
government had taken up primary education, other 
labourers should withdraw and leave the field to the. 
State. It was a happy thing for Methodism that the 
Connexion did not take that step. The Eoman and 
Anglican Churches would have been very much obliged 
to us if we had adopted that view, for its practical 
result would have been to transfer to them a con- 
siderable share of the gains of thirty years of hard 


Methodist schoolwork ; they would immediately have 
entered into our labours, and have farmed our babies 
for us without any weekly allowance whatever. But 
we loved our children too well to part with them. 
We thought there was just the possibility that we 
should never see them again ; and so we kept them, 
notwithstanding the risk of receiving less for their 
support under the new system. 

We were, however, under the operation of another 
principle than the instinct which prompted us to take 
care of our own. We drew back from the proposal to 
surrender altogether to a government department the 
education of the working classes and the children of 
the poorer families of this country. If the Churches 
were to sit still and fold their hands, while the children 
of their congregations, in immense numbers, flocked to 
Board schools, I am afraid the education imparted in 
these institutions would be practically atheistic. As it 
is, with the voluntary movement running side by side 
with the State movement ; with Christian schools 
rising up in all directions to testify that the Bible is 
the precious inheritance of the primary school ; with 
the weight of Christian sentiment and representation 
brought to bear upon her Majesty's Council of Educa- 
tion, and upon the bye-legislation of the school Board, 
too little Bible truth is conveyed to the poor man's 
child ; and if the Churches were to retire from popular 
education there would be none ! Let it never be 
forgotten that thousands of these children have no 
religion in their homes ; that from one week's end to 
another, the name of God is never heard within their 
circles, except to give point to an oath, or profane 
coarseness to a joke ; and that, in many cases, there 
exists the most brutal insensibility to religious motive 
of every kind. To have no divine law enunciated 


in the school, the only school which these poor 
children ever attend ; to have impressions rectified 
upon other subjects which it is necessary a child should 
know, and to leave untouched a child's natural impres- 
sion of God, which I take to be rebuking and dis- 
missing that impression, to unroll before their eyes the 
page of knowledge, as the poet describes it, 6 rich with 
the spoils of time,' and to erase the word e God * 
from that page wherever it occurs, and to insert the 
word * law,' is to perpetrate a huge fraud upon the 
unsuspecting credulity of the children of England, 
a fraud prolific of calamity to the future of the 
nation. I must lift up my voice once more against the 
delusion that there is an appreciable moral force in 
mere knowledge. The task of acquiring knowledge 
disciplines the faculties, and the knowledge acquired 
multiplies the sources of pleasure, and increases the 
power of work ; but it does not inevitably make a man 
conscientious, humane, benevolent, unselfish. It may 
refine reason, it cannot dethrone passion. It may 
clear out one devil, the devil of ignorance and gross- 
ness, but only to sweep and garnish the mind for 
seven others more wicked than the first. Who are the 
prime movers of the execrable Nihilist conspiracy ? I 
speak not merely of the wretches who dog the steps 
of monarchs with dynamite, and who secrete their 
devilish compounds under the windows of high places. 
They are the mere tools of nihilism ; but I speak 
of the chief conspirators of the system : they are 
scholars. I blush for culture as I think of it : they 
are students of science and of art, they are editors 
of journals, and they consecrate their accomplishments 
to scientific regicide. There are good kings and bad 
kings ; there are systems beneficent and systems preg- 
nant with disaster : but these intellectualists who ' say 


in their heart, There is no God,' and no hereafter, 
and in whose estimation the life of a man has no 
more sacredness than the life of a dog, do not attempt 
to reach their ends by teaching and by the dissemina- 
tion of knowledge, but by foul murder, at once unscru- 
pulous, indiscriminating, and cowardly. Education is 
a frail defence and guardian of morals; and I rejoice 
that there is still in this Christian England — and God 
grant that it may remain with us to the end ! — the old- 
fashioned reverence for the Bible, and a witness to its 
necessity and efficacy in many a Christian school, that 
shall convey a leaven of religious sympathy to school 
Board deliberations, and secure for that blessed book a 
place in the curriculum of school studies. As you, my 
Lord Mayor, have reminded us to-night, many of the 
Westminster and Southlands pupils, when we have not 
vacancies for them in our own schools, will obtain posi- 
tions in Board schools ; and these students, from their 
known character and training, may well be trusted 
to impregnate the teaching of these institutions with 
Christian truth, and to hasten the day when every 
child in England, poor as well as rich, shall learn, 
as his first lesson, that the beginning of wisdom is the 
fear of the Lord. 







THERE is one part of this resolution, my Lord 
Mayor,* to which I can speak with the authority 
of personal knowledge. A somewhat intimate acquaint- 
ance with the manner and the results with which our 
work has been carried on during the year enables me 
to confirm the statement of the report that that work 
has been prosecuted with vigour and success. I am 
almost afraid to trust myself even for a moment to 
dwell upon the reference in the Report to the bereave- 

* The Right Hon. the Lord Major of London, Alderman "William 
M'Arthur, M.P., presided. 

The resolution was as follows : — 

' That the report, an abstract of which has now been read, be 
adopted, printed, and circulated under the direction of the Com- 
mittee ; and that this meeting, whilst chastened and saddened by 
recent bereavements, is nevertheless gratified to hear that the work 
of the society has been prosecuted with vigour and success during 
the past year, and again offers thanksgiving to almighty God for 
the blessing with which he has been pleased to crown the labours 
of his servants.' 


ments which have depressed the spirit of this anni- 
versary. You yourself mentioned names which will 
awaken in the minds of all feelings of the deepest 
interest : Sir Francis Lycett and Samuel Coley, Mr. 
Samuel R. Healey and Frederick James Jobson; and 
the absence of another so recently in our midst, whose 
name is one of the bright traditions of this Hall for the 
service rendered by his incomparable eloquence to 
religion and philanthropy, whose supporters are accus- 
tomed in this place and during this month to review 
their work and to advocate their claims — I say his 
absence is like an awful and sudden collapse in the 
programme of our proceedings. Dr. Punshon helped 
to make the arrangements which we are carrying out 
to-day. He hoped and feared with us, but with a rest- 
less solicitude peculiarly his own, as to how the 
Society's accounts would appear upon the balance-sheet, 
and as to the effect of the meeting to-day upon the 
revenue of the new missionary year. He joined us, 
his colleagues, when in mutual confession and prayer we 
strove to roll our too heavy burden upon the Lord ; 
and there can be no question that the weight of that 
burden hastened the departure from among us of one 
of the truest, one of the noblest, one of the bravest 
and best sons of the large Methodist family, and one of 
the shining lights of the catholic Church. But we 
should be doing, in my judgment, great injustice to our 
beloved brother if we permitted dejection to be the 
keynote of this Meeting. We are ' perplexed, but not 
in despair.' We are 'cast down, but not destroyed;' 
and if our eulogy of the services of the departed take 
the practical expression of renewed consecration to the 
work which he loved and in which he died, we shall 
offer that tribute to his worth by which he himself 
would have chosen to be remembered. 


I am asked to move the adoption of the report. If 
this resolution pass I trust that the people will read 
the report and study it ; study it with the reports of 
similar organisations to get a complete view of what 
the Redeemer is doing in the world, and what the 
Churches are doing to overtake the zeal of the Redeemer. 
I have studied these reports, and there are two difficul- 
ties which are made clear to me, and upon these I will 
dwell for a moment or two, if the patience of the 
meeting will permit me. The firsb difficulty, of course, 
relates to finance. The pressure of this trial is rela- 
tive ; relative to the breadth of the field occupied by 
a Missionary Church, relative to the kind of work 
which happens to be suffering from the retrenchment 
of support, relative to the nature of the deficiency in 
the income of the Missionary funds. In our own case 
the field, it is of no use to deny it, is larger than our 
present means. It is the glory of Methodism to 
report* a wealthier revenue of faith than of money. 
Our fathers began this work without any money at 
all ! Those who tell us that the affairs of this society 
ought to be conducted upon the sound commercial prin- 
ciple of an assured capital would never have consented 
to place this great work in the very uncommercial firma- 
ment of faith, and hang it upon nothing. But this is 
what our fathers did. I have sometimes marvelled 
at the sublime audacity of the founders of this society 
in measuring out for us, with the coolest disdain of 
geographical limits, remote islands a nd vast continents, 
and without any exchequer behind them commanding 
us to go up and take possession. They believed that 
the faith which converted the simple and vagrant hosts 
of Joshua into irresistible troops and successful 
invaders of the promised land was not an extinct prin- 
ciple. And if we do not agree with them, what 


business have we here to-day? Our fathers were 
men of shrewd sense. Judging from the conversations 
that have come down to us, the quixotic element found 
little favour in the councils of Methodist preachers. 
True, they had no certain income which they could 
reckon up from dividends or investments ; they had not 
one farthing in consols or in the three per cents. ; yet 
in spite of all, they went into debt with great courage, 
and they remained in debt with great tranquillity- I 
remember a curious instance of the childlike simplicity 
with which they corresponded on the exigences of 
finance. In a passage from a letter, indited just 
eighty-two years ago, addressed from the English Con- 
ference to the Irish Conference referring to the Irish 
missions, which at that time were in difficulties, we 
have these delightful assurances and these remarkable 
explanations, ' We have met all your liabilities, although 
we have had to borrow £1000 to meet our own.' That 
£1000 was no liability at all ! Where is the explana- 
tion of this? They had an endowment worth more 
than half a million in the funds ; an endowment secured 
to them in the wealth of Methodist peoples hearts 
and Methodist people's faith; and it will go hard 
with this society if we substitute for the endowment 
of sympathy the endowment of capital. I shall not 
be understood, my Lord Mayor, to mean that even 
a spiritual society like ours can be administered in 
defiance of the ordinary principles which govern in- 
come and expenditure. On the contrary, money which 
is a free-will offering, much of it given by the poor, 
made poorer by their gift, is a holy thing; it is 
sacrilege to touch it lightly and to spend it recklessly : 
and I am here to affirm, with my colleagues around 
me, that never in the administration of your Mission 
funds has so great care been exercised in the spendiug 


department as at the present time. Our danger has 
almost gone over to the other side. During the last 
two years we have cherished the spirit of economy and 
the spirit of saving* until it has come to pass, that if a 
stranger should enter one of our committees he would 
imagine that the staple of our business, as well as the 
labour of our deliberations, was retrenchment. It is 
not so, but he would imagine it to be so. 

You must permit me to say that there are other 
subjects entrusted to a Missionary committee beside 
finance, of equal, if not superior importance; and 
we wish for a little more leisure from the harassing 
duties, cares, and threatenings attendant upon inade- 
quate income. Questions are continually submitted to 
us, which we have not time enough to consider, affect- 
ing the legislation of particular districts and the policy 
of administering them ; and in countries like India and 
China, where, in spite of our non-political position, the 
government is continually crossing the path of the 
missionary, when on such occasions our brethren ask 
us for counsel, and it may be to accept the respon- 
sibility of quasi-politic?! action, the result of our decision 
might involve the gravest issues. It might be the 
arresting or the missing for ever of a supreme oppor- 
tunity of advancement, as in the case of our recent 
occupation of the Nizam's dominions referred to in 
the report ; or it might be the destruction of many 
years of hard missionary schoolwork, as is feared by the 
recent changes in the education policy of the Madras 
government, or it might be the safety of a brother's 
life and freedom, recently imperilled in the province of 
Canton. We cannot administer the pregnant affairs 
of your great society by sitting down at home dis- 
cussing costs and inspecting vouchers like the vestry 
of a small parish. We must be on the field with the 


men we send out : with them in an intimate knowledge 
of their ground and their work ; with them in sympathy 
with their enthusiasm and their trials ; with them — 
and as a missionary I have often felt the comfort of 
this — in the assurance of a pledge that, come what 
may, you will stand by them. But we cannot, as a 
Secretariat, and as a Committee, discharge these high 
functions unless we are free — I will not say from the 
anxieties of financial administration, we can never be 
free from these but — from the embarrassments of 
threatened financial collapse ; and we should be un- 
worthy of the confidence of this Connexion if we were 
not half paralysed by the restraints, the necessary 
frustrations and apprehensions imposed upon us by an 
income totally insufficient, as you have heard to-day, to 
meet even the ordinary needs of our work. We are 
not unobservant of the fact, that this society is only 
one of several departments of Methodist labour ; we do 
not forget that, in addition to the leading dtaims of the 
Connexion, every circuit has a local burden to carry, 
and is sometimes heavily laden with it : but the Foreign 
Missionary Society is the earliest and the noblest charge 
upon the support of the Methodist people ; it is your 
first love, and you have not left it yet. 

I have heard it said that public sympathy with mis- 
sions is beginning to flag ; I say that I have heard 
it, and, more important still, I suppose, I have read it 
in print. There is another rumour, very much like 
it, with regard to public interest in preaching; but 
I believe that this grave judgment means no more 
than that the public have no sympathy with a sermon 
which is wanting in life but is not wanting in length, 
and that the public manifests the smallest possible 
emotion under a missionary speech which is destitute 
of missionary facts. I affirm that our congregations 


are neither slow to listen nor slow to respond when 
the missionary argument is fairly adduced and sup- 
ported by the testimony of current missionary his- 
tory. And if I am not mistaken, this Hall to-day 
will send over the Connexion at home and abroad 
as true a ring of enthusiasm as ever struck upon the 
ear, or compelled the acclamations of former Exeter 
Hall gatherings. I am therefore encouraged to believe 
that you do not wish and that you do not intend 
that those to whom you have entrusted the manage- 
ment of your missions, should waste their energies 
and contract their opportunities by the incessant dejec- 
tion and worry consequent upon large annual deficits. 
I said that our field was too extensive for our present 
means. We ask you to help us to reach, by adequate 
occupation, the limits of our present field. We ask 
you to arrest retrenchment by practical expressions of 
sympathy, by infusing new vigour into your local 
organisation, and, above all, by pushing personal sacri- 
fice to the requirements of your duty, to Christ. 

And now I should like for one moment to rise from 
financial straits to another difficulty of a very uncommon 
character, which the young men of former days never 
saw in their visions, and their fathers never conceived 
in their dreams. During the last forty years, through 
the marvellous activity of missionary organisations, the 
new territory acquired by Christianity has surpassed in 
extent the entire field of her old possessions. That is 
to say, if you take a map of forty years ago, and line 
out the geographical limits of the Christian faith, and 
compare this extent of country with continents and 
islands and districts in continents traversed and, to a 
certain extent, possessed, since that time by the religion 
of Jesus, the new accessions cover a wider field than 
the old. But the Christian map of forty years ago was 


the Christian map of five hundred years ago ! no new 
territory for Christ during all those centuries. I leave 
the significance of this fact to those gentlemen who 
foretell the early collapse of Christian aggression ; and 
I shall prefer for the present to accept the prophecies 
of the first century rather than the predictions of the 
Nineteenth. But the difficulty that I want to point 
out now, and that which demands the gravest con- 
sideration at this moment, on the part of all mis- 
sionary organisations, is the present stage of the opera- 
tion of Christian faith aid Christian truth in the new 
territory. There is universal disturbance, and you are 
answerable for it. There is no collusion to account for 
this coincident agitation. Wherever you have sent your 
missionaries there is an upheaving and an overturning 
of existing conditions. You have touched with your 
ethereal Gospel the tribal life of the southern islands of 
Tonga and Fiji, and that life is now developing into 
national form : in the throes accompanying the earlier 
growth of a people there is a higher class of conflicts, 
a higher class of sufferings, a higher class of sins ; and 
the uncomely aspect of these struggles is now used to 
discredit you. You have hidden the restless leaven of 
Gospel truth in the native mind of Southern Africa. 
What are the African people contending for now ? They 
are contending for rights and institutions which your 
teaching, without being political, has defined, and your 
missionaries, without being politicians, have illustrated ; 
they ask, and they have a right to ask, to be lifted up 
from serfdom to brotherhood. I wish our great and noble 
England, on which you pronounced a warm eulogy in 
your opening speech, would bring to a perpetual end 
her inglorious conflicts with small African tribes. I wish 
that England, in the presence of half- civilised barbarians, 
would doff the dress of the soldier and the conqueror, 


and teach her humbler friends the use of the pruning- 
hook and the ploughshare. I wish that England would 
remember that her vast power was given unto her by 
the God of nations to raise the fallen by the truth and 
by the arts through which she herself attained her pre- 
eminence. The position of England is unique among 
the nations; she is not a great military empire, and 
I hope she never may be. We do not wish her to 
assemble millions of armed hosts in rivalry with Eussia 
and Germany and France. Her place among the nations 
is to be the instructor, the patron, and the shield of 
small, struggling, half-enlightened peoples. She is the 
missionary nation to the earth, to proclaim liberty to 
the captive, to open the prison doors to them that are 
bound. God has directed her paths hitherto, because 
many among her best — all of her best — have acknow- 
ledged Him in their ways. God forbid that this country 
should ever cease to acknowledge Him who built her 
up ! % I do not believe she ever will. Even if the 
Commons of England agree to banish the name of God 
from the oath of their obligations, the English people' 
will continue to subscribe themselves by the name of 
the God of Jacob. 

And then, to pass to a third and last example of 
the disturbance you are making : you have shaken to 
the basis of its faith the intellect of India. You have 
done it with abnormal swiftness. The people have not 
reached this change by the usual evolutions of history, 
in which the new gradually assimilates itself to that 
which is permanent in the old, and the revolution is 
effected without disturbance ; for in this case the 
people of India have discovered, without a day's 
warning — using that expression ' day ' as we compute 
the age of nations — that the ground upon which her 
confidence has reposed for ages, upon which for ages 


her holiest traditions have accumulated, and upon 
which the structure of her society is built, is a vast 
fiction, which is now yawning beneath them ! I 
maintain, and I think the meeting will agree with 
me, that as we have shocked them by this first dis- 
covery we are bound to lead them to another discovery, 
where the staggering mind may find sure footing. 
You ought, if possible, to let the second revelation 
be made as rapidly as the first. You cannot ; that is 
impossible: and yet the consequence of keeping a 
whole people in the midst of forsaken temples, of gods 
stripped of their renown, and of discredited traditions, 
is past all conception. I hesitate not to say, although 
I am a missionary of the Cross, that a condition of 
intellectual ferment and tumult like this, following 
suddenly upon an organised religious belief, and a society 
founded upon that belief, without a leader, and left to 
the wild shaping of its own impulses, unsettling every- 
thing and settling nothing, is far more mischievous to 
the societies affected and to mankind, than the faith 
and the usage which it destroys but cannot replace. I 
suppose that Ireland is now the parliamentary problem, 
but for many years India was the crucial problem of 
parliament ; and India is becoming the difficulty of the 
missionary Church. I shall be accused of an enthus- 
iastic exaggeration when I say that there are many 
thousands of Hindus this day who are prepared to 
follow a certain lead; and the question which now 
presses upon us and upon all missionary societies is 
this, how to affect speedily a commanding proclama- 
tion of the Gospel ; how so to disseminate the glorious 
news as that the manifestation of the Son of God shall 
follow without delay the disconcerting influences of 
the education which is now revolutionising India, before 
the agitation has experienced any of those frightful 



issues of which I see the beginning in Calcutta and 
Bombay, of atheism in creed, licentiousness in life, and 
all lawlessness in morals; how to exhibit Christ, the 
Lord and Master of all mind-storms, and the only way 
to a peaceable habitation and to quiet resting-places ! I 
cannot touch upon China and Japan, where the partial 
spread of Christianity has also awakened intellectual 
and political distraction ; but I have said enough to 
prove that the Missionary Churches, if they are not 
prepared to follow up their work, ought not to have 
begun it. If they say that at the Master's bidding they 
put their hand to the plough, then at the Master's 
bidding they must not look back. If we do look back, 
if we now slacken our hands, and allow present results 
to drift into forms of national unrest and national license, 
as they assuredly will do if they are not pushed on 
to their legitimate completeness, Christianity will be 
charged in your name with a failure that shall furnish 
the infidel with the strongest possible argument against 
her divinity. But if, on the other hand, there be 
an earnest resumption of activity and sacrifice on the 
part of missionary, Bible, tract, and evangelical asso- 
ciations; if there be no more pausing and flagging, 
a speedy and a ripe success in the new territory 
which we have won for Christ will bring back to 
old Christendom a testimony to the faith which will 
stagger the infidelity of Europe, and silence the taunts 
of the 1 scorner, the haughty doubts of the sceptic, and 
the unworthy misgivings of the Church. 



'let us hold fast our 

- <♦ « ci « 

A Sermon peeached before the Conference on Sunday 
Morning, August 2nd, 1880, in City-road Chapel, London, 
and published by request of the conference. 

* Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the 
heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us holdfast our profession.' — 
Hebrews iv. 14. 

THAT which we profess or confess, let us bring 
it within our grasp, literally have it within our 
power, be masters of it, and hold it fast. The action 
is distinguished from merely touching it, regarding it 
from a distance, looking at it. But the action supposes 
that what we confess is capable of being grasped. It 
is substance and not shadow : not an idea which, like 
nebulous matter, changes its lines of form every 
moment; not an hypothesis by which we take the 
Christian faith and assign it, ad interim, to some cause 
which may appear to explain it ; but truth demonstrated 
to be truth by proofs upon which all truths rest. 

Our profession is a group of facts concerning Jesus 
of Nazareth. It is not necessary in making our 
acceptance of these facts a profession that we should 
fully comprehend them; for we fully comprehend 


nothing. There are common truths, which we never 
doubt and upon the certainty of which we risk our life 
every day; yet many of us could give but a lame 
account of our reasons for believing them. The facts 
concerning Jesus to which I refer are arranged for 
us by St. Paul, in the 15th chapter of his first 
Corinthian epistle. They are — 

1. That he died for our sins according to the 

2. That he was buried. 9 

3. That he rose again the third day according to 
the Scriptures. 

4. That his resurrection was proved by a force 
of testimony far greater than that which is required 
to meet the conditions of ordinary belief. 

These truths St. Paul designates the Gospel : he 
himself had received them, he was satisfied with the 
evidences upon which they rest, and he delivered them 
to the world, demanding for them the rational credence 
which follows a fair and conclusive examination. It is 
to be noticed that in this statement of the proofs which 
underlie the Gospel the writer does not include the 
supernatural argument, what he calls, in another 
place, the demonstration of the Spirit ; * as if he would 
challenge for the alleged facts of his Gospel a strictly 
historical investigation. 

No man was more familiar than St. Paul with the 
extraordinary illuminations of the Holy Ghost; no 
writer so frequently insists upon these helps as belong- 
ing to the complement of the great Christian argu- 
ment : but in dealing with unbelief, he invariably 
shows that there is no jprimd facie case for it ; that 

* 1 Cor. ii. 4. 


while the inner life of the Christian disciple belongs to 
the world which eye hath not seen, the truths which 
stand at the entrance of that world appeal to the 
ordinary faculties of sense and reason. 

Herein lies the responsibility of the unbeliever. 
The faith which admits us to the presence of the super- 
natural is a divine gift. "No one of his own will 
can command it ; and yet the natural man is confronted 
with this dreadful Scripture, He that believeth not the 
Son shall not see life ; but the wrath of God abideth 
on him.* There must be a reason for this con- 
demnation, and a reason intended to be apparent to 
those who are exposed to it. For this is not one 
of those strange acts of God of which he gives no 
account. He never threatens and punishes men in the 
dark. He is justified in the sight of men in sayings 
of this character, and clear when he is judged ; in 
other words, he overcomes when his dealings are called 
in question by men. Here, then, is the justification of 
God, in this instance of punishing those who believe 
not. Faith cometh by hearing. The man who refuses to 
hear, who declines from whatever motive to accept the 
opportunity of listening to the Gospel argument, must 
be held responsible for all the consequences of not 
having the faith which comes by listening. Every man 
can hear the Word ; can hear it with an earnest desire 
fco find out whether or not it is true. He is answerable 
for what is within his power ; and the fair and sincere 
hearer places himself at the entrance of the super- 
natural world, and receives the help of those influences 
which raise the mere act of belief into an appre- 
hension of the living Christ, a trust in him for sal- 
vation, and a personal fellowship with him. The Spirit 

* John iii. 36. 


of God is as near to a man as if he were an incor- 
porated faculty, and wherever there is the honest will 
to listen, there is in close attendance the grace to 

You will gather from what has been affirmed of the 
responsibility of the unbeliever that there is that in 
the Gospel by which, if he chooses, he is warranted to 
examine its claims, and to which, whether he chooses 
or not, he is bound to give earnest attention. I refer 
to the historical basis of our profession ; and, following 
the example of St. Paul in the fifteenth chapter of his 
first Corinthian epistle, I shall show that the very 
existence of our Christianity depends upon our holding 
this fast. 

It is necessary at all times, but especially in these 
days, to insist upon the position that history and not 
sentiment lies at the foundation of our faith. It is 
true that religion is spiritual life and the outward 
expression of that life, rather than the acceptation of 
a creed. But this is only half the truth ; and by not 
giving its due prominence to the other half, we have 
sometimes played into the hands of our enemies. We 
have been apt to put the historic miracle of the Gospel 
out of sight, as if we were afraid to subject it to 
criticism. There is a disposition to speak of it apolo- 
getically, as our least defensible argument, as some- 
thing which we ourselves believe with difficulty, and 
which must not be understood to be our strongest 
foundation. Let us, it is urged, stake our defence 
upon the Christian's life, as set forth in model in 
the career of Jesus, and in imitation in the moral 
elevation of his people. Let the argument for the 
Gospel be placed upon the fact that the morality it 
produces is purer in kind, and loftier in summit, than 
that of any other religion or philosophy. 


When we adopt this line of defence, and throw into 
the shade the argument of the objective miracle, the 
scientific rationalist finds it an easy task to dispose of 
us. He will vie with us in admiration of Christian 
morality; he will lecture in strains of surpassing 
eulogy, as did the infidel Romanist the other day, on 
the matchless purity of the inimitable Nazarene. But 
what is signified by this ? That the verities which you 
and I regard as more ancient and more deeply laid 
than the pillars of heaven, are the fancies of a sweet 
Galilean vision. We do not invite plaudits like these 
for our Lord and Master. The hosannas of infidelity 
are an insult to the Son of God. To extol him first 
and then extinguish him is the homage of the purple 
robe and the toy sceptre before the crucifixion. 

Let us be careful of this new snare of atheism, 
wherein she hides from us the fell purpose of her 
ministry, and captivates the unwary by a cloak of 
discipleship, professing that the difference between her 
followers and us is one of sentiment rather than argu- 
ment ; that the same high aims are common to both, 
the moral education of humanity ; in other words, that 
there is nothing to grasp and hold fast. 

Brethren, it is time to speak out ; it is better for 
all, even at the risk of disturbing cherished asso- 
ciations, to look steadily at the issue to which the 
acceptance of modern rationalism would bring us. It 
asks us to surrender nothing; by accepting it we 
surrender everything. If Christianity has no historical 
basis our profession is a dream. If Christ be not risen, 
there is no Christ, there is no Bible, there is no dead ; 
our preaching is vain ; your faith is also vain ; for 
they which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 

* 1 Cor. xv. 13-18. 



Brethren, in speaking thus, we do not think lightly of 
the argument of Christian character, we esteem the life 
of Jesus as depicted in the Gospels a priceless boon to 
the world, and an indispensable evidence of the divinity 
of our religion ; but when you make it unhistorical, you 
take from it the secret of its power, you strip from it 
at once its claims upon the credence, the homage, and 
the respect of mankind; you forget that the force 
which you ascribe to it is born of its historical 
authority. Whatever good has been done in and 
through the name of Jesus since that name was first 
known, has been done solely through the belief that it 
was a real name, that it represented an historic person, 
and an honest, matter-of-fact history. Herein is the 
cardinal distinction between Christianity and the faiths 
of paganism. These are cunningly devised fables ; an 
idol is nothing in the world : but our God is in the 
heavens. Eemove this distinction, and Christianity is 
paganism. The fact is not altered in the slightest 
degree by the superiority of our faith in every possible 
quality of advantage, if it have not the foundation of 
truth ; and to distinguish ourselves from idolaters, and 
our religion from superstition, is an intolerable conceit. 

If we ponder this deeply it may move us for our 
own sake, and for the sake of our children, in view of 
the glory of our maligned Master, and of the salvation 
of the world which he has redeemed, to tighten our 
grasp upon the profession of his name. 

Consider, that is, study nothing else except in sub- 
ordination to him, the Apostle and High Priest of our 
profession, Christ Jesus. We must hold him fast ; not 
his character, as the best among many patterns of 
excellence ; not his teaching, as the wisest among many 
lessons; but Himself, as the personal and ever-living 
Eedeemer, whose words are an everlasting utterance ; 


whose work is not a passing service, a single contribu- 
tion to the progress of mankind, but the restoration 
to truth, to purity, and to God, of all the generations 
of men ; and whose presence is not a memory, the 
transmitted dream of an enthusiastic discipleship, but 
an unchanging personality, with all the attributes, 
affections, and sympathies of personality. 

I shall probably be met here with a question which 
rises in many hearts, but seldom attains the formal 
expression of the lips. 'You ask us to hold fast our 
profession. We desire to do it ; we envy those who 
can do it ; we do not cherish doubt, though intel- 
lectually we sympathise with it ; but the objective 
miracle of the Gospel, the resurrection of Jesus, to 
which you give an historical basis, and which we 
acknowledge to be the central verity of our faith, is 
to us a stumbling-block ; not an insuperable one, not 
always a formidable one ; but it lies in our path, 
the ready occasion of questioning when we are in 
the mood of reconsideration and conjecture. We 
cannot forbid and we cannot dismiss seasons of un- 
belief. A scientific lecture or treatise or conversation 
has the unhappy power of reviving doubts which we 
thought had been slain, and renewing a conflict in 
which we are too frequently mastered; and', to be 
frank with you, you do not help us by reiterating the 
exhortation, Hold fast your profession. What shall we 
do to make our faith gripe it, and hold it fast ? ' 

The writer of this epistle indicates in the text the 
source both of direction and help. ' Seeing then that 
we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the 
heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our 
profession.' The conflict of the Hebrew Christians 
resembled very closely the modern struggle of faith. 
They staggered at the miracle of the resurrection of 


Jesus. Some of them before their conversion were 
Sadducees, who repudiated the supernatural, denying 
the immortality of man and the spiritual world. 
Others were Pharisees, also fervent and indiscrim- 
inating disciples of Moses, who saw in the gorgeous 
ritual of the temple the consummation of religion, 
whose hopes were dazzled by material conquest and 
the dream of a military Christ. The Sadducee in 
embracing Jesus became the inhabitant of a new 
world ; against the traditions of his school, the edu- 
cation of his home-life, the prevailing sentiment and 
tone of his companions, he accepted the miracle of 
Christ's resurrection and was risen with Christ, no 
longer making his bodily perceptions the sole authorities 
of his belief, but living under a new order of senses, 
expatiating in an unseen Jerusalem, and, instead of 
remembering the dead and the perished, walking and 
communing in thought with the spirits of just men 
made perfect. The ritualistic Pharisee, in stripping off 
from himself the stole of a gorgeous symbolism and 
putting on the Lord Jesus, saw in his position and life 
a revolution almost as complete and marvellous as that 
which had changed his Sadducean friend. No ex- 
amples of the power of the Gospel can be imagined to 
surpass "such conversions as these. But you can readily 
suppose that where the change was imperfect, or the 
convert was subjected to persecution on account of 
his new belief, the temptation to reconsider his ground, 
or to regret it, would be a perpetual trial and not infre- 
quently a grave danger. Several instances of apostasy 
had been reported to the writer of this epistle ; and it 
is too evident, as well from the argument of the entire 
treatise as from the terrific warnings and appeals of 
particular passages, that these scandalous defections 
had induced a decline of spiritual life, and a relaxation 


of doctrinal precision and firmness, that threatened to 
break up and scatter the Hebrew Christians. 

That part of the New Testament which is most 
fitted to meet the necessities of the modern Church 
is the Epistle to the Hebrews. The truths to be 
maintained at all hazards, the mental condition in 
which these truths are allowed to slip from our 
grasp, the temper or frailty which brings us to that 
condition, and the means of recovery from it, are set 
forth in their respective situations with striking vivid- 
ness, so that no one can miss seeing them, and in so 
weighty and solemn a style as cannot fail to hold our 
attention and awaken our solicitude. The question, 
which we have imagined to be asked by some of you, 
had been proposed by the Hebrews, What shall we do 
to make our faith seize the verities of the Gospel, and 
hold them fast ? The writer was too great a master of 
his art to attempt to strengthen their faith by parading 
the steadfast character of his own, and reiterating their 
duty to believe as he did. He leads them by the road 
of an irresistible argument, into which he makes con- 
verge all the old paths of symbol and of tradition, to 
Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant. Jesus, the 
personal object of their faith, shall teach them the way 
to hold fast Himself. The apostle does not say, Seeing 
that you have so conclusive a testimony as that by 
which I have proved the truth, seeing that you have 
such examples of firmness as the apostolic pillars of 
the Church, hold fast your profession ; but, Seeing that 
we have a great High Priest who is passed into the 
heavens, not away from you and your cause, but having 
finished the priestly sacrifice on earth to begin the 
priestly intercession before the mercy-seat; separated 
from you by a veil which to him is no veil, in personal 
and intimate communion with every one of you, not re- 


presenting your condition as a people or a Church, but 
making the cause of each member the subject of special 
presentation ; not drawing a line .between the believer 
and the earnest inquirer, as if the latter must first get 
himself into a state of faith before he could claim a 
recognition, but having upon the large breastplate of 
his office the name and state of the weakest, the un- 
happiest, the most despairing. 

The apostle anticipates a doubt whether this can be 
a correct account of the heavenly work of the Messiah, 
by pointing out to his readers and to. us that their own 
high priest under the law was taken from among men, 
that as a man he might understand the wants of other 
men, and that it was his special business, not to select 
for his study and care and admiration the strongest 
examples of his charge, to weed out the frail and the 
worthless in order to promote the survival of the fittest : 
but to have compassion on thern^ that were ignorant 
and out of the way ; and that his own weaknesses, his 
struggles against his own unbelief, and his temptations 
to sin, qualified him for his office. And we, said he, 
speaking on behalf of Jews and Gentiles, have not a 
High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of 
our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we 
are, yet without sin. We need not here discuss the 
source of Christ's temptations, any further than to affirm 
that that source was human nature. He was the King 
of sufferers, mental and bpdily. 

The question whether he ever doubted is answered 
by the fact that he was human : he had a human mind ; 
a mind that grew in power and in knowledge ; and 
doubt belongs to the process of growth. But he never 
doubted his divinity, the Godhead of his divine nature ; 
he never doubted the reality of his mission ; he never 
doubted his Father's word ; he never prayed in doubt. 


He knew doubt simply as provisional, a voluntary- 
suspension of our judgment for a time, in order to come 
to a more clear and sure conclusion. This state would 
be familiar to him as his mind stepped on from acquire- 
ment to acquirement. In no other sense than this could 
he have doubted. But this was sufficient to make him 
understand as a man the nature of intellectual conflict : 
the desire 'to know the truth, its eagerness, its impatience, 
its liability to selfishness, and to corruption from other 
emotions such as ambition and the mere vanity of pro- 
gress; he could distinguish between the doubt that comes 
from the wish to doubt : the doubt of darkness that 
never issues to the light but leads us always further from 
it, as illustrated by the question of the Jews : ' How long 
dost thou make us to doubt ? if thou be the Christ 
tell us plainly ; ' * and that other kind of doubt which 
is born of the light and which aids in a certain sort to 
produce light in its turn, as set forth in that cry of 
honest perplexity, 'Lord, I believe; help thou mine 
unbelief.' f If, then, the holding fast our profession 
involves intellectual conflict, seeing that we have a. 
great High Priest who understands the nature of the 
struggle, the temperament of the mind that is resisting 
doubt, the pressure of the doubt in each particular case, 
and who possesses the resource within himself of such 
evidence as any mind may require for restful assurance, 
let us bend our spirit to the trial, and reckon upon it 
that Jesus will help the infirmity of our reason, and 
abundantly afford every other aid that may be necessary 
to insure victory in the good fight of faith. 

And here it should not be forgotten that He who 
helps us to hold fast our profession is himself the 
subject of our profession. The historic facts and the 

* John x. 24. t Mark ix. 24. 



revelations which he assists us to apprehend, relate to 
his own person and work. Let us put this state- 
ment into a personal and familLr illustration : I am 
striving to understand and grasp for myself the mean- 
ing of the death of Christ, to accept as the ground 
of my faith the resurrection of Christ, and my own 
salvation as purchased by his death and attested by 
his rising again. These wonderful miracles astonish 
and bewilder my natural sense. I believe them, and 
yet this faith is so unlike ordinary belief that it is 
constantly liable to the disturbance of reconsidera- 
tion. The power of apprehension and intellectual 
acceptance in this case seems to be a new faculty, 
governed by other laws than those which conduct us 
to ordinary knowledge. I sometimes believe without 
an effort to acquire belief. I sometimes doubt after 
the most painful labour to make doubt impossible ; 
I am tossed about to and fro, between the lower 
and the upper kingdom of thought, too ignorant to 
know whether I happen to be in this element or 
in that; in an unnatural position like Peter, when 
walking on the deep to go to Jesus.* I say un- 
natural, because Peter ought to have been swimming 
or sinking ; but he was held up above ordinary 
laws by the Author of law, and yet only so long as 
his attention and confidence were placed on Jesus. 
When, instead of looking at the divine Person whose 
power was sustaining his strange goings upon the 
deep, he regarded the power of the storm — for you 
may remember that the sea was tossed with waves and 
the wind was blowing a gale when this wonderful scene 
occurred — then Peter was afraid. The distraction of 
faith brought him instantly under the sway of ordinary 

* Matt. xiv. 29. 


laws, and lie would have perished but for the quick 
rescue of the Lord's mercy. Seeing that I have a great 
High Priest whose office it is to take charge of my pro- 
gress towards Himself, whose own person is the profes- 
sion I am striving to grasp and retain, who knows with 
exquisite precision and absolute comprehensiveness my 
physical and spiritual nature, I will fix my mind, my 
inner eye upon him, and upon him only, and upon him 
always. This looking unto Jesus, while it gives me a 
supernatural position upon the depths of the unknown, 
enabling me to walk with firmness where unassisted 
reason would not be able to go a step, nay, would sink 
into gulfs of contradiction and paradox, does not dis- 
turb the harmony of my other faculties, nor suspend the 
function of any one of them. Peter's action was as 
natural as if he had been moving on dry land : he was 
not borne along, he walked, but he walked by faith ; 
by a belief that Jesus was able to make his feet rest 
and move even upon a wave, and that he would do it 
because the Lord had given him permission to come. 
Peter confided in the ' Come ' of his master ; and the 
result justified all that his simple, artless, and affec- 
tionate confidence reckoned upon. When his mind was 
drawn from Christ, his common sense instantaneously 
reasoned upon his situation, and as suddenly he was 
like a man who had fallen into the sea. Stand fast 
upon the deep mysteries of the Gospel by looking unto 
Jesus and by moving towards Jesus. Eeckon upon 
the sympathy, the tenderness, the fidelity, and the 
purpose of his s Gome unto me? 




A Sermon on the Death of Sir Francis Lycett, delivered in 
Citt-road Chapel on January 26th, 1881. 

' For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is 
able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 
2 Timothy i. 12. 

A PECULIAR and precious interest invests this 
•second Epistle to Timothy, because it contains 
the last written utterances of the author. St. Paul 
having preached the doctrines of Christianity for thirty 
•years against every conceivable form of antagonism, it 
is important to learn the latest views of the preacher : 
and for us especially ; for the time in which we live is 
remarkable for intellectual adventure, for the boldness 
with which men reconsider their old beliefs, and the 
readiness with which they modify or abandon them. 
The motives for intellectual activity in this direction 
are so prevalent, that the circumstance may be con- 
sidered one of the characteristics of the age. It is 
indeed regarded as an indisputable sign of the advance- 
ment of learning and science. A man who does not 
change his views is supposed to lack the vitality of 
growth. He is a dead branch of the great human 
tree; he represents an extinct organism. Language 


of this kind meets us so frequently in certain circles 
that it seems to have become the sing-song or cant 
of those who use it. 

It is admitted that there are certain persons 
who never change their views. They have never rea- 
soned themselves into any opinion. They acquire their 
notions and impressions by simple adoption, and are 
too indolent, or too timid, or too feeble, to revise them ; 
and the world owes little of its progress to these. But 
is the world much more indebted to minds that are 
never still, that cannot accept any position as ultimate 
and unchangeable, that rebel even against the axioms 
of reasoning ? What is progress ? Is it the flux of 
change, the to-and-fro motion upon a deep all unknown ? 
or is it the winning of steps on a definite line of march ? 
Leaving the modern thinker to dispose of this problem 
as best he can, the philosophy of Christianity is based 
upon truth that can never give place to more advanced 
positions. Our views of truth are not stationary ; 
these are continually changing, but the change is not 
in the truth seen, but in the perceptions of the spec- 
tator. He changes his standing place; approaches 
nearer the object, or looks upon it from a higher 
position. The first step of the Christian is belief in 
Christ, and ever after that the movement of his mind 
is in the direction of Christ. If his devotion be enthu- 
siastic, he will quickly pass through his elementary 
impressions and attain distinctness of conception, 
dropping his errors as he goes on, as faith shakes 
itself free of symbol, and boldly trusts the warrant 
of the word of promise. 

Paul's mind was in this state of progress for thirty 
years, and under these two conditions : first, the per- 
fect knowledge of Christ, if that were possible, was the 
ambition of his life ; ' I count all things but loss for the 


excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord : 
for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do 
count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be 
found in him, not having mine own righteousness, 
which is of the law, but that which is through the 
faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by 
faith : that I may know him, and the power of his 
resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being 
made conformable unto his death; if by any means 
I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.' * 
Secondly, he commanded every help, divine and human, 
necessary for the attainment of it. * I certify you that 
the Gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 
For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught 
it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.' f A mere 
surface acquaintance with St. Paul's life will make it 
clear that he professed to live in intimate fellowship 
with Christ ; and his long intercourse with the chief 
companions of Jesus helped to make complete in his 
mind the lineaments and manners of the fairest among 
the children of men, enabled him to learn what they 
had learned, to know their impressions of the ascended 
Lord, and to compare notes with them. 

It is a mistake to suppose that this intense and 
progressive study of the person of Christ was peculiar 
to Paul, a matter of temperament, or the result of his 
extraordinary conversion. It characterised the spirit of 
Peter, and the inspiration and teaching of John. Nay, 
more, both these apostles make the knowledge of 
Christ the goal of Christian hope, and the substance 
of Christian life. The former warns his converts 
against idleness in the knowledge of Christ, % and 
exhorts them to grow in that knowledge; and the 

* Phil. iii. 8—11. f Gal. i. 11, 12. + 2 Pet. i. 8. 


epistles of St. John are so pervaded by the expres- 
sions, the word-signs, of a minute intimacy with Jesus, 
that they might have been written while the two were 
together, and the hand of the scholar was simply 
holding the pen for the composition of the Teacher. 
' Truly,' said the divine penman, ' our fellowship is 
with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.'* 
Let me add, just here, another remark. These apostles 
did not consider Christ as a teacher to lead them on to 
God, but as himself the ultimate object of knowledge, 
and therefore as himself God. Had he been less than 
deity, St. Paul could never have counted all other things, 
all other knowledge, but loss, ' for the excellency of the 
knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord,' as he designates 
him in this passage, f Therefore, weighing all these 
considerations, it is a subject of the deepest interest 
to inquire what were Paul's views of Christ at the end 
of his life, after thirty years of study, and such study 
as a mind like his was inclined or compelled to give. 
His conversion happened in his early prime, and his 
daring and impetuous nature was not tamed by the 
event, but etherialised. We must expect that during 
the first period of the change his love for Christ would 
glow with a white heat of intensity, and that his 
language would glitter with the radiance of the 
Damascus vision. But these first fervours had time 
to cool. He did not take them into a cloister and nurse 
them in solitary devotion ; nor did he guard them by 
forming about himself a circle of like-minded disciples, 
whose sympathy and admiration would shelter his con- 
victions from the cold. Within four years after his 
baptism he was plunged into a sea of strife, and in 
the tossings of that sea he lived and died. 

* 1 John i. 3. f Phil. iii. 8. 


We cannot pretend even to guess what were 
St. Paul's views of Jesus of Nazareth when the reve- 
lation of the Son of God to him was new and untried ; 
but whatever they were, I can conceive of no circum- 
stances more fitted to test the first impressions of 
conversion than the many-coloured events of this 
apostle' s career. He travelled far ; he encountered 
many races and nearly as many religions ; he became 
familiar with the hard atheism of Athens and the 
polished licentiousness of Corinth. Human nature, 
regarded as an exhibition of power, has never been 
seen in greater splendour than at the time when Paul 
beheld it in Eome ; and this splendid greatness was 
essentially antichrist. His Gospel was the prophecy 
of its overthrow ; and the peculiar revelations of that 
Gospel awakened the ridicule of the science and 
scholarship of the day by their monstrous improba- 
bility, and evoked the hatred of the masses by the 
uncompromising purity of their laws. But in addition 
to assaults of this nature, straining his intellectual 
hold of Gospel doctrine, there was sometimes a 
perilous strain upon his personal attachment to the 
Cross. He refers to this several times, and in one 
passage so eloquent and so moving that it is difficult 
to read it without tears : e In stripes above measure, in 
prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five 
times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I 
beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered 
shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep ; 
in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of 
robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils 
by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the 
wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false 
brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings 
often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold 


and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, 
that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the 

I have quoted this celebrated extract at length, to 
make as full and accurate as possible our representation 
of those circumstances under which a man's early- 
impressions of himself, of his beliefs, and of his life- 
work change, if they change at all. In the case of 
Paul, was there any change in his knowledge of Christ 
during many years of eventful experience ? Yes ; for 
this was the motto of his life : ' I follow after, if 
that I may apprehend,' or grasp the prize, to obtain 
which Christ grasped me. 'Not as though I were 
already perfect.' I did not obtain perfection at my con- 
version ; even now I count not myself to have grasped 
the prize. I am ' reaching forth unto those things 
which are before ; I press toward . . the high calling 
of God in Christ Jesus.' f But the change was not dis- 
placement but advancement, not revision but growth ; 
and in this Second Epistle to Timothy, written on the 
eve of his martyrdom, when, as he himself says, he 
had finished Ms course, we have the consummation, in 
regard to his knowledge of Christ, of the intellectual 
and spiritual following of a life ; his prayers, his rapt 
meditations and visions, his supernatural illuminations, 
his continuous study of the Word of God, his abound- 
ing trials, his intercourse with illustrious saints, his 
vast knowledge of mankind, the results of all are 
condensed into these last utterances of the departing 
apostle. And what do we find in the character of his 
.dying testimony to Jesus ? It might be expected that 
age had abated the ardour of his imagination ; that his 
judgment had attained perfect sobriety ; that his think- 

* 2 Cor. xi. 23—28. f PHI. iii. 12—14 


ing power, and whatever other faculties comprise the 
understanding, were mellowing in ripeness, and free 
from the disturbing force of the passions. What, 
I repeat, is the witness concerning Jesus of ' Paul 
the aged,' the scholar, the man of the world, the 
saint, the inspired teacher and apostle ? As for the 
tone of his mind at this time, it may be learned 
from the context : ' God hath not given us the spirit 
of fear ; but of power, and of love, and of a sound 
mind.' * Now, in the first place, when he speaks 
of Christ in this epistle, there is no symptom of 
hesitation, or doubt, or change, or caution, in any one 
of his references. His descriptions of the personality 
of the Son of God are as firm, as vivid, and as 
sympathetic, as in any of the passages of his earlier 
letters. Let me cite the following examples : ' The 
Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the 
dead at his appearing and his kingdom.' f ' Hence- 
forth thei*e is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, 
which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at 
that day-' J ' I am not ashamed : for I know whom I 
have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to 
keep that which I have committed unto him against 
that day-' § 

But, in the second place, his prophetic spirit dis- 
cerned an approaching peril, when faith in Jesus would 
lose its distinctness and relax its grasp : ' For the time 
will come when men will not endure sound doctrine; 
but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves 
teachers, having itching ears.' || I confess I am deeply 
impressed by this anxiety concerning doctrine and 
fidelity to it, which characterises the last warnings 

* 2 Tim. i. 7. f 2 Tim. iv. 1. + 2 Tim. iv. 8. 

§ 2 Tim. i. 12. || 2 Tim. iv. 3. 


of St. Paul. It is only by holding fast the form 
of sound words that we can attain that definite and 
personal knowledge of Christ which was the experience 
of Paul. I know ivhom, I have believed. We do 
not merely believe a truth; we know a person. If 
we simply know a truth concerning a person, it does 
not unite us to that person. We only possess that 
truth, or rather our apprehension of it, which may 
be inaccurate and must be imperfect. But if we 
know the person himself, whatever truth concerning 
him it may be necessary to know we receive from 
himself, either personally disclosed to us or observed 
by us. We have in his presence an abiding guard 
against misunderstanding, and a never-failing supply 
of new knowledge. The true disciple of Christ believes 
in the atonement of his Lord's death, and in the justi- 
fying fact of his Lord's resurrection. But he knows 
the Lord himself concerning whom these events are 
recorded ; and his imperfect knowledge of them grows 
by communion. The abstract testimony of the word, 
He died for us, becomes a personal revelation, I died 
for thee. And this revelation is not nakedly given ; 
there comes with it the power to understand and 
appropriate it. When the natural eye cannot see it, 
and the untrained ear cannot catch the sound of it, 
and the heart is unable to imagine it, the spirit of 
Jesus brings a resurrection power into the dead soul, 
and all its senses and faculties are awake to the stir, 
the harmonies, and the life of a new world, the king- 
dom of the unseen ; and Jesus in his Spirit dwells in 
the quickened mind, to shield its new life, to strengthen 
it for fresh revelations, to render help, comfort, and 
assurance when it is struggling with any power of 
darkness or any stupor of death that may be lingering 
within it. We have believed Christ, his words, his 


engagements, his acts ; but we know him. The word 
which St. Paul has selected to convey his meaning 
signifies, not merely intellectual knowledge, but familiar 
acquaintance first. How fondly does St. John dwell 
upon this personal knowledge of the Redeemer, and 
upon those signs and proofs which made this know- 
ledge sure ! We declare unto you, not one who dwelt 
among us, and passed away at death, leaving with us 
simply the evidences that he had been, and who is 
now a blessed memory, but him who was from the 
beginning,* and became incarnate; whose humanity 
was real and immortal ; whom we saw after he was 
risen — for it is to this period the apostle is alluding — 
whom our hands handled, a reference to our Lord's 
words to his doubting followers, ' Handle me and 
see ; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see 
me have ; ' f at whom we gazed as he ascended up, — him 
declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellow- 
ship, not* with those antichrists who are endeavouring 
to persuade you that the Jesus whom we preach is no 
more, but with us ; and truly our fellowship is with the 
Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. The everlast- 
ing Word dwells in us by virtue of his incarnation. 
There is a clanger of our refining away the glorious 
humanity of Christ, not by any modification of our 
convictions, but by dwelling more upon the word than 
upon the person of Christ, and by not resting upon 
the word with earnest and prayerful study, a temper 
which would keep us close to the person of Christ: 
but the word, the doctrine concerning Christ, being 
nearest to the understanding, accommodates itself more 
readily to the ordinary tone of devotion, and offers 
fewer difficulties to faith. This may be religion ; it 

* 1 John i. 1. t Luke xxiv. 39. 


may by the comprehension of language be styled a 
fellowship with Christ. But it is not the fellowship 
which was denned and enjoyed by the apostles. It is 
a word fellowship, a sentiment fellowship, little more 
than a remembrance, or, at most, a dream of Christ. 
A piety of this kind, made up of shreds of Scripture, 
and snatches of sacred song and Church melodies, 
and habits of decent, but for the most part unthinking 
worship, is like a condemned ship cable, useful in fine 
weather, but can never be trusted to bear the slightest 
strain. Is it any wonder that the winds and currents 
of doctrine which are just now trying so severely the 
steadfastness of our beliefs should have driven many 
from the moorings of the Gospel, and have caused 
them to wreck their faith upon some uninhabitable 
coast ? I believe that nothing will stand the perilous 
tension to which the faith of the Christian is subjected 
in these days, but ' Christ in us the hope of glory* 

' To the haven of thy breast, 

O Son of man, I fly ! 

Be my refuge and my rest, 

For oh ! the storm is high. 
Save me from the furious blast, 
A covert from the tempest be ! 
Hide me, Jesus, till o'erpast 
The storm of sin I see ! ' 

Have you noticed that the apostles and their followers 
in the moment of extreme or final pressure, when 
everything was giving away around and beneath them, 
clung to the person of Jesus ? It was the vision of 
Stephen when standing before the council who were 
about to deliver him to the executioners, Behold, I see 
the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the 
right hand of God* And a few minutes after, when 

* Acts vii. 56-60. 


the agony of a horrible death was upon him, he cried, 
for himself, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,' and for 
his murderers, 'Lord, lay not this sin to their charge/ 
St. Paul also, foreseeing the near visit of the headsman, 
writes to Timothy in a passage I have already quoted, 
' Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of right- 
eousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall 
give me at that day : and not to me only, but unto all 
them also that love his appearing.'* And the sum of all 
the doctrines, of all the promises, of all the hopes, 
and of all the supplications, expounded, confirmed, 
cherished, and presented, is Jesus coming again, and 
Jesus longed for : ' Surely I come quickly. Amen. 
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.' f May it please God, 
who hath called us by his grace, to reveal his Son in 
us ! And if this revelation has been given to us, 
and is not now with us as in days past, if the Son 
of man has faded into the shadow of a Scripture or 
a symbol*, and he dwells dimly or doubtfully in the 
chambers of imagery, scarcely distinguishable from the 
phantom forms of the departed, may He come back again 
in the distinctness and reality of a personal presence ! 

The individual character of our communion with 
Jesus is pointed out not merely by the intimacy of 
personal knowledge, but by a definite and complete 
covenant transaction. ' I am persuaded that he is 
able to keep that which I have committed unto him 
against that day.'t Paul lived in the habit of plac- 
ing everything under the guardianship of Christ, to 
be kept by the great trustee ' against that day.' To 
his own care the apostle reserved absolutely nothing. 
However trifling the item in itself it was an integral 
part of a great property. As to the way in which it 

* 2 Tim. iv. 8. f R^. xxii. 20. J 2 Tim. i. 12. 


would be kept, as to the question whether the Guardian 
would himself classify into estimates the various kinds 
of property of which the estate was composed, St. Paul 
did not in any way concern himself. The one thing 
of which he was persuaded was the fact that he would 
lose nothing. We venture, though with reverent hesi- 
tation, to apply to an inferior covenant the words of 
Jesus respecting his Father's will, It is the desire of my 
servant ' that of all which he hath given me I should 
lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last 
day-' * The apostle expended his life, to find it again 
unto life eternal. The disappointed wish was put by 
and carefully stored for future fulfilment ; the travail 
of his soul would have its dual satisfaction in the perfect 
heaven. The trials, the sufferings, the calamities of 
life would be an investment for the far more exceeding 
and eternal weight of glory. The great trustee not only 
keeps but transmutes the property Like the sowing 
for the resurrection Glod giveth our life a body as it 
hath pleased him. ( It is sown in corruption, it is raised 
in incorruption ; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in 
glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.'f 
As the life was spent for Christ, it became Christ's 
deposit. ' To me to live is Christ ; but to die is gain.' J 
And here is the infinite comfort of this investment, I 
am persuaded that he is able to keep it. The persuasion 
will be difficult of attainment if we do not invest all. 
To reserve anything for our own disposition and guar- 
dianship is to introduce into the transaction the element 
of uncertainty and confusion. The entire possession 
must go into the Lord's hands intact. And, blessed 
be his name ! he does not forget our infirmities ; he does 
not allow us to live merely upon the naked act of the 

* John yi. 39. f 1 Cor. xv. 43. + Phil. i. 21. 


transfer; he remembers our frame, our proneness to 
be perpetually reconsidering what we have done ; our 
temptation to reopen the whole question upon any 
suspicion of sincerity, fidelity, or worthiness. He 
not only guards what we have entrusted to him, but 
he watches over the confidence by which we were 
able to do it. He feeds this confidence by foretastes 
of glory ; he sometimes goes so far as to transmute 
a portion of the deposit before the day comes. We 
commit to him a sowing of tears and humiliation and 
unthankful toil, and he vouchsafes a kind of first-fruits, 
an earnest of our life's harvest. More than this, and 
in a less formal manner, he has a way of showing us 
that he is at hand ; that he stands by us ; that every- 
thing deposited is safe ; safe not because we are worthy, 
but because he is faithful. 

* He by himself hath sworn, 
I on his oath depend ; 
I shall, on eagles' wings upborne, 
To heaven ascend : 
I shall behold his face, 
I shall his power adore, 
And sing the wonders of his grace 
For evermore.' 

We memorialise this evening not the worthiness of 
man, but the grace and fidelity of God ; in keeping and 
taking to himself, for ever-accumulating enrichment, 
the deposit of a life ; not the life of an apostle or a 
minister, but the career of a simple believer in Jesus, 
who knew whom he believed and entrusted to Him 
all that he possessed : and the dying testimony of 
the servant to the faithfulness of his Lord will leave 
us in no doubt as to the spirit in which the invest- 
ment was made, and the manner in which the deposit 
was kept. 


My acquaintance with Sir Francis Lycett, though 
begun five-and-thirty years ago, before my appoint- 
ment to Madras, was not renewed till my return 
in 1864. It assumed the relationship of pastor, and 
the familiarity of intimacy, on my appointment, ten 
years later, to the Highbury Circuit. According to 
my view of the character of the deceased, it was con- 
spicuous for steadiness, strength, and activity His 
was a strong life, in all its features strong. He was 
never a man of schemes. In early life he seemed 
to have grasped the great idea of the progressive 
advancement and ultimate triumph of the Christian 
religion. His strong preference for Methodism was 
grounded upon a belief that its institutions and adminis- 
trative economy were adapted to this end and purpose. 
To these, therefore, he studiously applied his abilities 
and opportunities. As a citizen of this great city, he 
was not merely a patriot and a philanthropist. He 
took a broader view of its moral necessities and his 
own duty in relation to them. He surveyed London 
with the eye of a steward of God ; and, that he might 
be a wise as well as a faithful steward, he made the 
social diseases of the metropolis the subject of a careful 
consideration, in view of a more extensive application 
of what he believed to be the only effectual remedy- 
Very few men have studied the moral exigences of this 
city as closely as Sir Francis did. Using the facili- 
ties afforded him as a magistrate, a citizen, and a mer- 
chant, hardly one of its many phases escaped his 
notice. The result of this wide and exhaustive survey 
was a resolution to initiate the grand undertaking of 
his life. In this his munificence, though great, was 
equalled by his farsightedness. But who can calculate 
the beneficial fruits ? It is easy to count the number of 



the chapels built and the amount of the new sittings 
provided. But none can reckon up the spiritual good 
already achieved or yet in store. This, in all pro- 
bability, is beyond the power of the imagination to 
conceive. In furtherance of a sublime purpose his 
sacrifices of time, strength, and labour were as remark- 
able as was his liberality in pecuniary means. It was 
my happiness to witness his zeal and devotion within a 
few days of the illness that closed his career; and 
it is no exaggeration to say that, though he was a man 
well stricken in years, the youngest members of the 
committees on which he sat were not so active as he. 

Nor were his aspirations for usefulness limited to 
London, large as that sphere is. He was altogether a 
Connexional layman; and nothing less would satisfy 
his longings than the universal extension of the evan- 
gelizing system to which he was on principle attached. 
He had watched the village life of England as diligently 
as that % of its metropolis, and avowed his persuasion 
that there Methodism would yet find one of its most 
fruitful fields. He was a Methodist by a decided and 
very sharp preference, but he loved all who loved 
the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, and warmly espoused 
the Bible Society, the Foreign Missionary Societies, and 
every other institution that laboured for the instruction, 
the freedom, or the morality of the human race. At 
the same time, in whatever society he moved (and 
the multifarious associations in which it was his pro- 
vidential lot to mingle subjected him at times to the 
severest tests) he suffered nothing to deter or divert 
him from a zealous and consistent course. In every 
company and under every circumstance he modestly yet 
courageously avowed his attachment to Jesus and to 
the paramount claims of His kingdom on the earth. 
While, however, his moral sympathies knew no limit of 


time, person, or place, he shone with the purest lustre 
in his own home. His domestic life was perfect in 
its way. His family relations were to him a spring of 
perpetual joy- 

At length that home was filled with anxiety, and in 
no long time with grief. But in the last great trial of 
a man's life his faith did not fail him. His hope then 
fed itself on hymns and prayers. His clear and sound 
intellect was never clouded for a moment. Though 
the agonies of his disease were unspeakable, his patience 
was not once betrayed into irritation. He had but two 
special desires in his last hours — one was for a clearer 
manifestation of the Lord's favour, the other asked 
that the faithful wife from whom he was about to 
be separated for a season might be able to take 
comfort in sources which had solaced his own spirit. 

His full assurance of hope to the end was shown 
by the Scripture or holy song to which he gave either 
utterance or assent, and by short ejaculations of praise 
to God. None can listen to these touching details 
without feeling how frequently the same words, whether 
of chapters or of hymns, come to the minds and hearts 
of dying saints. While John Newton's hymn, ' How 
sweet the name of Jesus sounds ! ' gave Sir Francis 
comfort on the day of his death, he bequeathed it 
to Lady Lycett as a last legacy for her consolation 
in her approaching hour of need. ' For ever with the 
Lord,' the glorious refrain of James Montgomery's 
hymn, were the words which described to the eyes of 
his faith the prospect immediately before him. Who 
can count the instances in which believers in the 
supreme moment have found comfort from Toplady's 
' Bock of ages, cleft for me' ? 

' Nothing in my hands I bring, 
Simply to thy cross I cling,' 

H 2 


were among Sir Francis Lycett's latest words. But 
the last clear sentence that he uttered was John 
Wesley's — 

' I the chief of sinners am, 
But Jesus died for me.' 

So closely allied are entire self-distrust and sole confi- 
dence in the atonement ! Sometimes funeral orations, 
so called, are pronounced at the grave by men who 
have no faith in the resurrection. But all their talk is 
of the past. They are dumb as to the future. Their 
eloquence and philosophy end at that margin; and 
at that margin our revelation begins ! 



A Sermon preached in the Centenary Hall on Thursday 
Morning, April 28th, 1881, on behalf op the Wesleyan 
Methodist Missionary Society. 

' For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour ; who 
will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of 
the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God 
and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for 
all, to be testified in due time.'' — 1 Timothy ii. 3 — 6. 

WHATEVER may be advanced in favour of this 
Scripture or against it, it must be acknow- 
ledged on all sides that the statement it affirms is clear 
and complete. It is laid down in the form of a series 
of propositions. The diction is simply used as in the 
case of an axiom to express in the fewest words a truth 
which is supposed to carry its. evidence upon the surface. 
This at any rate was the opinion of the writer, whose 
sincerity it would be uncritical to suspect. There is 
another assertion which will have the concurrence of 
all parties : that the matter contained in these proposi- 
tions ranks first among the subjects of human inquiry. 
The interest attaching to the questions which relate to 
the Scripture before us has not only survived through 
all the centuries of Christian history, but lives in the 


present day with the freshness of yesterday's novelty. 
I will not stay now to inquire into the reason of the 
undying curiosity which haunts the fundamental dogmas 
of religion, but pass on to make a third statement 
which will command very general, if not universal 
assent; that if the existence of the supreme Being 
and our own immortality occupy the first rank among 
human questions it is not likely that the world has 
made no progress in the elucidation and settlement 
of these subjects since the days of St. Paul. It is 
scarcely possible to imagine that the researches of 
successive generations for nearly twenty centuries, 
animated by the most commanding motives, have 
accomplished nothing towards unravelling the problems 
of religious belief. Have the studies of all these ages 
past resulted in confirming the propositions of St. Paul, 
or in over-throwing them ? 

1. He affirms in substance that all men are lost. 

2. That they can only be saved by knowing the truth. 

3. He here delivers the truth which saves men. 

1. The doctrine of the innate corruption of human 
nature is not so much taught in the Holy Scriptures as 
accepted as the basis of the Christian religion. If we 
are not fallen beyond our own remedies we want no 
Saviour from heaven. ( If it can be shown that there 
lies in human capability, whether in the single mind or 
in a concert of minds, the power of setting ourselves 
right, of attaining that condition of right living which 
will give stimulus and scope to our highest faculties, 
and secure the happiest organisation for our social and 
national life, the miraculous revelation of Jesus is with- 
out defence, and the supernatural claims of the New 
Testament rest upon no other foundation than that 
which supports the visions of the Kuran. \We are not 


now comparing or contrasting Christ and Muhammad. 
But Christ announced and assumed through all his 
ministry that the design of his mission was to save the 
human race from perishing : not to take part in helping 
mankind to recover itself, to be one among other guides 
and saviours ; but that its redemption must begin and 
end in him only, that separated from him men necessarily 
perish. As he declared to one of the Jewish authorities, 
' God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten 
Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish 
but have everlasting life ; ' * which means, as Peter after- 
wards explained to other Jewish authorities, ' There 
is none other name under heaven given among men, 
whereby we must be saved.' f This is the Name that 
arrests the degeneracy of the human race. I will make 
no distinction now between perishing in this life and 
in that which is to come. If you can point out a nation 
or a society of men, where Christ is unknown as a 
restraining power or a reconstructing power, which 
is not perishing, which is not growing worse instead 
of better, that nation is not lost, and its condition 
unanswerably refutes the cardinal teaching of the New 
Testament. There is no such people now existing in 
the world; and if it be replied that the present dif- 
fusion of Christianity makes it difficult to arrive at a 
decision on the subject either one way or the other, we 
can soon shake off this embarrassment, and transfer our 
examination to another era. It will be in every way 
convenient to make that era the time when our text 
was written. 

Paul lived in an age when literature had accom- 
plished every result within its special province. I 
am not disposed to narrow that province; to limit it 

* John iii. 16. f Acts iv. 12. 


to mere intellectual culture. In its higher departments 
literature must do a certain amount of ethical work. 
The mind that expresses itself perfectly will not 
only think with accuracy, but when the subject of its 
thoughts corresponds therewith will come under the 
influence of the noblest impulses. When the thoughts 
that accuse and excuse one another contend in the 
breast of a literary man, if he be a philosopher, a poet, 
or a jurist, the law which is written in the natural 
heart, and the conscience which enforces it, will some- 
times find expression in precepts, in aspirations, in 
prayers, which in the absence of the revealed law have 
a certain ethical value. Examples of moral teachiog 
from this source abound in the literature that flourished 
in the pre-Christian time. This literature during a 
long period had been educating the human mind and 
the human character both in family and in national life ; 
and Paul saw its complete results in Athens, in Ephesus, 
and in Some. Literature had exhausted its power in 
the populations of these cities. It had not diffused its 
culture over the masses, but it had been long enough 
at work to regenerate their moral life, had it been able 
to do this. But what was the state of society with 
learning shining upon it in zenith splendour ? It was 
filled, so Paul assures us, 'with all unrighteousness, 
fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; 
full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity ; whis- 
perers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, 
boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 
without understanding, covenant breakers, without 
natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.'* I need 
not stay one moment to defend the testimony of the 
apostolic writer, for the periods which he accuses are 

* Rom. i. 29—31. 


amply historic; Paul's account is only one of many, 
and all the witnesses agree. He declared that in spite 
of the written and spoken wisdom of men the classic 
nations were perishing : and they have perished ; their 
institutions and beliefs have perished. Their learning 
is still with us, an indestructible monument of genius 
and skill ; and not, like the pyramids, a wonder for the 
traveller and a relic for the antiquary ; it is a living 
force in modern education, having no more salt of moral 
power than of old, but furnishing inimitable models of 
method, of expression, and of literary work. 

And here let me say that those who hope for the 
perfection of mankind through scientific teaching may 
consider with advantage whether science will succeed 
where literature has failed. Suppose science, triumph- 
ing over the most inscrutable of all problems, could give 
us an exact account of the mind in man ; would the 
moral force of that knowledge be as great as that of a 
biography, in which we see mind in the scenes of our 
common life, encouraging us by its successes or warning 
us by its failures ? If your scientific theories were 
replaced by scientific facts; if you had a library of 
books containing a correct exposition of nature in the 
heavens above, and in the earth beneath, and in the 
waters under the earth ; if alJ propositions were verified 
so that speculation had scarcely a place in learning, 
would these works do more for the moral advance- 
ment of the modern world than the classical writers 
accomplished for the morals of the ancient world? 
Nay, they would not do as much. I am supposing 
the reign of scientific knowledge to exclude what many 
of its disciples consider it must exclude, religious belief. 
There was no certain faith in the old pagan authors, 
but there were longings for it ; there was a noble spirit 
of inquiry penetrating the unseen and waiting at the 


door of the Eternal ; there was an impression that 
human duty must take its sanctions from superhuman 
authority; and there was attached to the notion of 
law not only a divine will to enforce its observance, 
but a divine wrath to resent its trespass. These im- 
pressions, having a closer affinity with the conscience 
than mere knowledge can have, and providing motives 
for right conduct far more effectual than demonstra- 
tions of natural phenomena, educated the moral nature 
of mankind, and bred virtues of character beyond the 
power of science, because outside its province. You 
have no more ground for supposing that an accurate 
acquaintance with the structure of the human mind 
will produce upright behaviour, than for imagining 
that the study of physiology must necessarily insure 
obedience to the laws of health. No, if literature 
which kindles our imagination and exalts it by con- 
ceptions of perfect goodness and perfect beauty, and 
which has preserved for us the history of those men 
who have striven to realise these conceptions, cannot 
save us from perishing, science will fail to do it. And 
if knowledge, imagination, conscience, and the accu- 
mulating history of human experience presented to 
us in every conceivable form of teaching, cannot turn 
back the degeneracy of mankind, it is because there is 
an ineradicable distemper in the heart of human nature. 
There is no other explanation of the futility of mere 
teaching in the case of some of us whose infancy and 
childhood were vigilantly fenced ; who, after there was 
nothing left for us to learn, or for others to do on our 
behalf, deliberately walked into the broad way with our 
eyes open, and our ears filled with the warnings and 
importunities of affection, knowing with grim distinct- 
ness that the end of our course would be ruin and hell. 
We were saved, not by learning our lessons over again ; 


not by advancing from speculation to exactness, from 
theory to fact. "We were seized by a power unknown 
in the curriculum of schools, and in the circle of the 
sciences ; a power which turned the wild current of our 
passions and subdued our will to the temper of child- 
hood in a moment. A new life was given unto us and 
the dead lessons of morality became living powers ; to 
the faculty of knowing the right there was added the 
power to do the right, and virtue became the path of 
choice and of happiness. Nothing is more easy than 
to call in question the reality of this power ; nothing 
is more difficult than to explain on human grounds its 
permanent effects. We think we have proved that 
the proposition must stand, ' All men are lost/ 

2. Paul affirms in the second place that they 
can only be saved by knowing the truth. * God our 
Saviour, who will have all men to come unto a know- 
ledge of the truth.' It may be necessary to state 
that the word here translated knowledge means, not a 
fragmentary acquaintance, a loose impression or notion 
of a subject, but complete knowledge ; in the sense 
of knowledge going on to completeness ; knowledge 
becoming more and more exact as we are approaching 
the object of knowledge. God wills that all men 
should know the truth with all possible exactness and 
thoroughness. Knowledge of this kind, whatever that 
may be which is known, must be personal. This is a 
glorious tribute to the mind of the human race. The 
scientific student speaks with hesitation and reasons 
falteringly when he speculates on the varieties of man. 
When the traveller pushes his way into lands hitherto 
unmapped and unknown, and brings to light, as did 
Livingstone and Stanley, types of men wilder than 
the jungle brute or bird, and apparently less acces- 
sible to reason and to kindness; with nothing but a 


hideous human shape to suggest humanity, 'fierce as 
ten furies, terrible as hell,' the scientist labours to 
bring these strange trjjbes into his system of sociology. 
We have no such difficulty ; they are all men, but men 
perishing, ' destroyed for lack of knowledge.'* We 
are debtors both to the Greeks and to the barbarians. 
The holy Scriptures devote much attention to the 
origin, the development, and the fate of races. But 
when the corruption of our nature is described and its 
remedy is exhibited, all limits of nationality, all gra- 
dations of culture, disappear. Here is the account. 
' They are all gone out of the way, they are together 
become unprofitable, their life without purpose ; there 
is none that doeth good, no, not one.' f And God our 
Saviour will have every one to be saved and to come 
unto the knowledge of the truth. I repeat, this is a 
grand tribute to the mind of the human family. It is 
implied that all men are capable of knowing the truth, 
and knowing it thoroughly ; that is, so knowing it as to 
be consciously possessed of its revelations and subject 
to its directing and changing power. To know the truth, 
in this manner is to have all the intellectual and moral 
faculties engaged; all the affections and sympathies 
guided and inspired by the truth ; all the relations of 
family and citizen life based upon the truth; all the 
laws and rights of national union fenced round by the 
truth. You see by this that the structural results of 
the truth are contemplated in this kind of knowledge 
as well as its personal and individual effects. 

It has been alleged against Religion that she does 
not, in the proper sense of the word, teach ; that her 
instruments are impressions rather than facts ; and her 
domain the passions rather than the understanding ; 

* Hos. iv. 6. f Ps. xiv. ; Rom. iii. 12. 


and that this is the reason why her success is con- 
spicuous among the illiterate. As for the latter point 
of this sneer, the illiterate were unthought of, were left 
to perish body and soul, until she became their champion. 
Whether Religion teaches or not is not so reasonable 
a question as whether she is not our only teacher. 
She certainly was the first; and if, in computing the 
intellectual work done on behalf of mankind, you 
leave out of the account direct religious agency and 
indirect religious help, your reckoning will be an 
extremely easy process. At any rate, it will be acknow- 
ledged, if our text be closely considered, that in pro- 
secuting the will of God our Saviour, we save men by 
bringing them unto the knowledge of the truth. Is not 
this the purpose and the method of all philosophers who 
are philanthropists, to raise the masses by teaching them 
the truth? From the Bible they have adopted the 
purpose and borrowed the method. They have issued 
popular expositions of science to simplify the intricacies 
of scientific reasoning, and to give a homely dress to 
scientific nomenclature, that the common people may 
not look with a brute gaze upon nature, but have an 
intelligent eye for her wonders, and turn to their own 
advantage laws which they now overlook, and taste 
a new and elevating pleasure. Social questions of 
uncommon importance are also brought from the studies 
of experts to the lecture halls of the people. So far 
we agree with these philanthropic workers ; but now 
we must part company with some of them in consider- 
ing what that truth is which saves men. 

3. ' There is one God and one mediator between 
God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself 
a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.' This 
declaration does not occur in the text as explanatory 
of what is meant by the truth in the preceding verse. 


It is set down as the reason and support of an exhort- 
ation to pray for all men. Supplications, prayers, inter- 
cessions, and giving of thanks must be made for all 
men, because there is 'one God and Father of all, and 
one Mediator who gave himself a ransom for all. But 
in selecting these propositions as comprising e the truth 9 
which saves men, we take no liberty with the passage. 
The expression, which is of frequent occurrence in the 
New Testament, always means what is here affirmed, 
and never means anything else. The revelation of one 
God and one Eedeemer is the truth which saves men 
from perishing; to know this truth is life for a man, 
for a people. Paul appropriates one of the grand 
formulas of his Master's prayer, 'And this is life 
eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, 
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.'* This is the 
truth unto the knowledge of which God wills that we 
should bring the nations. It is the final and supreme 
command of the Son of God to the Church, and sums 
up the issue of his life, his death, and his resurrection. 
' All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them 
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost.' t The lack of this teaching and the know- 
ledge imparted by it is death. In the first part of this 
discourse we approached the proposition from another 
side. We proved that the human race is perishing; 
that literature has been powerless to arrest its degene- 
racy ; that science will in all likelihood prove to be even 
more helpless as a regenerating force. If there be an 
eternal Mind, the Original and Father of our minds, 
is it not evident that separated from him — that is, 
ignorant of him — we cannot live in perfect life ? Our 

* John xvii. 3. f Matt, xxviii. 18, 19. 


life without God is not only partial, incomplete, but 
developed in monstrous inequality In the savage 
it amounts to a shocking disguise; in the civilised 
it is a disastrous failure. Look at human life in the 
nations of Europe. Europe is not without God : its 
societies are largely animated by religious sentiment ; 
many of its institutions originated in religious belief: 
but look at that seething mass of humanity, analyse the 
forces which are there contending for mastery, and 
tell me whether those that inspire hope in the breast 
of every honest lover of his kind are not of Christian 
origin; whether those powers that must in the end 
see the destruction of everything else are not peace 
as against war, and freedom as against oppression, 
and pure living as against licentiousness, and honesty 
as against fraud, and intelligent security as against 
suspicion and disquietude, and order as against anarchy? 
And are not these the living and surviving elements, 
as against those unnatural conditions that cannot in 
the nature of things go into the permanent issue? 
The imperishable and life-giving principles which make 
religion the saving power of the nations are these : the 
Fatherhood of God and the mediatorial brotherhood 
of Christ. 

The only one God is the ultimate conception of 
human thought. The progress of examination and 
education in religion is not from one God to many, but 
from many gods to one. In nations whose religion is 
idolatry, the many-god belief is the superstition of the 
masses, the unthinking, whose deities are not the dis- 
coveries of thought, but the incarnations of passion. 
But the learned of these nations follow the traditions 
and literature of a monotheistic or pantheistic faith. 
The schools into which they are divided are not any of 
them polytheistic. Human thought in the absence of 


direct revelation, when it feels after its Creator and is 
sedate, earnest, and devout, passes by the senseless 
imageries of fanatic credulity and pauses at the one 
universal Force : and it pauses because it is unable to 
learn by ( searching ' in what manner that Force exists ; 
and upon this ultimate boundary which divides reason 
from revelation it builds its one altar, to the unknown 
God. If this is a true account of the history of human 
thought when it is trying to find out Grod ; if, where the 
Christian faith and the Christian Bible are unknown, 
the advancement of research into the power which 
made and sustains all things is everywhere in the 
direction of one Being and not many ; and if this divine 
unity, to which all the best religious thought presses, 
is taught or suggested by the earliest traditions of the 
respective nations in which such investigations are 
carried on : it is clear, first, that the human race is 
recovering a lost knowledge ; and, secondly, that the 
Bible alone is in a position to proclaim to the uncer- 
tain and bewildered religionists of the world, * Whom 
therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto 
you.' * 

The second life-giving principle is the mediatorial 
brotherhood of Christ; a Man who gave himself a 
ransom for all. A Man, but essentially distinct 
from all other men, distinct in nature ; otherwise he 
could not have accomplished a ransom for all, unless 
a ransom could be given by one who himself needed 
redemption; and in that case there is no reason 
why the power to ransom should not be distributed, 
and the world should have many redeemers. We 
say a Man distinct in nature from all other men, 
and therefore in all that distinguishes him more than 

* Acts xvii. 23. 


man. And what that is which is more than man is 
clearly displayed by the works and the words of Jesus. 
If this higher nature, so conspicuously apparent, joined 
by unknown assimilation to the human, and yet 
not human, be anything else than God manifested in 
our flesh, the position and superhuman attributes of 
Christ destroy to all intents and purposes as an object 
of human faith the unity of God. With such a 
Mediator in our midst we cannot preach with any 
chance of being understood that ' the Lord our God 
is one Lord.' To the mass of ordinary worshippers 
there will be two Lords. The people we are commis- 
sioned to save from perishing are not metaphysicians. 
They will not perplex their sense by attempting to 
distinguish between the superhuman and the divine. 
The Christ who is not God will be their God and 
Father ; the Supreme Being will recede into a specula- 
tion for thinkers in religion, and Christianity will be a 
higher style of idolatry. If you touch the God-nature 
and the God-personality of the Mediator, you do not 
bring men nearer to God, you place God farther from 
men. It is impossible to offer pure worship and to 
effect the communion of rational prayer and undivided 
trust, if you have a superhuman mediator who is not 
God. Herein is the difficulty of those Unitarians who 
deny the deity of Christ, and yet ascribe to the Re- 
deemer divine endowments. They are metaphysical 
theists and practical idolaters ; and this is the secret 
of their universal failure as preachers, missionaries, 
and founders of Churches. Their doctrine is ineffective 
with the masses because it is simply intellectual, and 
their worship is cold because it is distracted by virtual 
distribution. ' Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, 
and him only shalt thou serve,' is a commandment it is 
impossible to obey if Jesus Christ be not God. As for 



the difficulties that beset certain passages in which, as 
in our text, and in the 3rd verse of the 17th of John's 
Gospel, the one God is placed in apposition to the one 
Mediator, they belong to the mystery of godliness, and 
no explanation can resolve them : but the supposition 
of an uncreated God and a created mediator has no 
defence in reason, has no place in practical faith, has 
no authority in Scripture. 

The apostles preach the deity of the Redeemer by 
direct declaration : there is no appearance of care on 
their part, as if they were nervously anxious to make 
their statements conform to the exigences of an hypo- 
thesis. He who teaches us to pray for all men because 
there is one God and one Mediator between God and 
men, the man Christ Jesus, exhorts us also to 6 let this 
mind be in us which was also in Christ, who, being 
in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal 
with God,' * and ' to look for that blessed hope and 
the glorious appearing of the great God and our 
Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us that 
he might redeem us from all iniquity.' f This is 
the doctrine that gives life to the world : the media- 
torial brotherhood of Christ presenting by virtue of 
his perfect humanity a complete atonement to God, 
and presenting by virtue of his equal deity a complete 
forgiveness to man : attracting us to himself on his 
manhood side by the warm sympathies of a common 
nature ; leading us and lifting us up by a human 
hand which belongs to an omnipotent arm. The 
worshipper is thus enabled to render an unperplexed 
adoration to his Maker, to place an immediate and 
ultimate trust in the oblation of his Saviour, and to 
love the Lord his God with all his heart, and mind, and 

* Phil. ii. 5, 6. f Tit. ii. 13. 


soul, and strength. This is the glory of the Gospel 
that we are not led to God by propositions ; his being is 
not assured to us by the demonstrations of reasoning ; 
his ways are not reconciled to us by the balancings 
of human judgment : such a process of knowing him 
would restrict divine knowledge to the schools. He is 
approached by sympathy, he is understood by trust, he 
is appropriated by love. These are the feelings which 
bring babes to the footstool of our heavenly Father; 
these are the cords of the Man who is lifted up to draw 
all men unto him ; these are the meshes of the net 
by which you catch men, and may take into the ample 
inclosure of the Church all men. 

If God our Saviour wills that all men should be 
saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth, you 
ought to will it ; which means not to assent to it, and 
to approve of it, but to resolve that you will do your 
part towards effecting it. This is to will it as God 
wills it. He testified the ransom in the beginning by 
the first Tabernacle of witness, the shadow of things 
to come ; and then in due time by accomplishing the 
advent of his Son, by the demonstration of his resur- 
rection from the dead, and by the gift of the Holy 
Ghost, to effect the purpose of that ransom wherever it 
should be proclaimed. There are different seasons of 
testimony, corresponding with the advancing revela- 
tions and the occurring vicissitudes of the work. St. 
Paul recognised his season : Whereunto, ' that is, to 
the testifying,' I was appointed a proclaimer and an 
apostle ! * Luther recognised his season of testifying, 
and the Eeformation liberated the doctrine of justifi- 
cation by faith. This is the time of your call to testify, 
not as apostles or reformers, but as heralds. God made 

* 2 Tim. i. 11. 



you a Church at a time when a missionary testimony was 
demanded. His unity was unknown among the heathen, 
his Christ was denied, and his ransom was compara- 
tively fruitless in nations called after his name. The 
spirit of his own people was steeped in lethargy ; the 
watchmen whom he had set upon the walls of Jerusalem 
had deserted their posts; the Lord's remembrancers 
were silent ; the life-giving truth which had been 
entrusted to the Church for diffusion among the perish- 
ing nations was locked up : hidden in unrighteousness, 
hidden in the heresies of creeds, hidden in the orders 
and in the ritual of ecclesiastical systems. It was at 
this time that God raised up Methodism to be a new 
tabernacle of witness, to set free the testimony of a 
universal ransom, to set at nought Church forms which 
had become walls to inclose the truth, instead of paths 
to convey it away, and make it the possession of every 
creature under heaven; and your fathers preached a 
free salvation ; and because it was free and universal 
they were bound, logically by their doctrine and by 
their designation, and irresistibly by the impelling force 
of their Redeemer' s love, to make the knowledge of his 
ransom commensurate with the range of its purchase : 
and they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord 
working with them and confirming the Word with 
signs following ; signs that are with us to-day, though 
the fathers have departed. Behold these signs in the 
vast Methodist Churches of America, with their con- 
ferences, their missionary societies, and their hosts of 
missionary witnesses ! Behold these signs in the double 
liberty which our fathers carried to the captive islands 
of the west, loosing the negro populations and letting 
them go, first into the freedom wherewith Christ makes 
his people free, then into the citizen emancipation which 
is every Christian freeman's right ! Behold these signs 


in the growing nations of the far south, whose fathers 
were literally savage beasts of prey, roaming the jungle 
and devouring one another, but to whom Mr. Hunt and 
Mr. Calvert carried the life-giving and the nation-con- 
structing testimony that there is one God the Father 
of all, and one Mediator the brother of all; and 
these wild children of Adam listened, came out of 
their dens, left their wolfish spirits and leopard spots 
behind them, and became like the holy Child Jesus that 
led them forth ; and not only do they not hurt nor 
destroy in the Lord's holy mountain, but they them- 
selves have become testifiers of the ransom to the fierce 
tribes of other islands. And the time is coming — and 
almost within sight — when throughout the archi- 
pelagoes of the southern world there shall not be left one 
example of cannibal lust ! No lion shall be there, nor 
any ravenous beast shall walk thereon, but the redeemed 
shall walk there. Behold these signs to-day — more 
or less evident, but all growing into splendid distinct- 
ness — in India, which is becoming one vast empire 
of religious inquiry, in the aggressive Churches of 
Southern Africa, and in the lifting up of the gates and 
hoary prejudices of China that the King of glory may 
go in, the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty 
in battle. Yes, brethren, he is confirming the Word 
everywhere with signs following signs; and I call upon 
you to consider that this is your time to carry forth, or 
to send forth, to perishing millions the testimony that 
saves, and to support by personal sacrifice and personal 
intercessions the heralds who are your voice in the 
wilderness of heathenism, and who are preparing the 
paths of the Lord and of his Christ to the uttermost 
parts of the earth ! 

In my timid distrust and unworthy leaning upon 
human instruments, I could wish this moment for 


1 — the sight of a vanished hand, 
And the sound of a voice that is still.' 

But I stand as it were upon the edge of a recent grave, 
into which so much of our wealth has been entombed, 
where the lips that would have given their wonted 
tribute to this anniversary are even more eloquent for 
Missions in their sealed stillness than they could have 
been if our brother had not died. Yes, he being dead 
yet speaketh. * He who never spoke of himself has left his 
life to speak for him. The missionary conflict was the 
burden of his care, the missionary triumph was the 
prophecy of his eloquence. Let us take up this burden, 
and cherish and transmit the hope of this triumph ! 

* The late Rev. Dr. Punshon. 



The Official Sermon preached before the Irish Con- 
ference June 17th, 1881, and published et Request of the 

' Blessed are the pure in heart : for they shall see God.' — Matt. v. 8. 

WHAT is Purity of Heart? The word pure 
literally signifies clean, washed, spotless. Clean 
of heart is the expression upon which we must fix 
our attention. We find it in David's prayer, Create 
in me a clean heart ; and in his description of the man 
who will have a right to ascend the hill of the Lord, 
He that hath clean hands and a pure heart. It means 
more than honesty and truthfulness ; more than the 
subjection of evil desire ; more than the most correct 
personal habits ; more than the most perfect mastery 
and government either of self or the expression of 
self. It is the removal from the soul of every moral 
state which is unlike God, or contrary to God. There 
is no evil in the mind of God, nothing that is not per- 
fectly proper to the idea of the First Cause of all 
things : there ought to be no evil in the mind of man ; 
that is, nothing opposed to the proper idea of what a 
man ought to be. 

A man ought to be what his Creator made him to 


be : a creature in the image of God, that is, a son, a 
child of God. Whatever is opposed to a state filial to 
God does not belong to the idea of a man ; whatever 
is not essential to man's sonship is not essential to 
man; and if it disturb that filiation, it is in so far 
an evil. A proper idea of what is becoming in a child 
of God is the only standard by which a man can be 
justly measured. I need not tell you that this standard 
is unknown amongst men ; a fact which in itself pro- 
claims their alienation and degeneracy. The world's 
idea of a man is a shifting impression, corresponding 
with the mental state of different countries. Excel- 
lence in physical strength and courage, in cunning, in 
cruelty, in war, in learning, and in wisdom, these are 
the attainments to which the epithet manly is applied 
amongst the various nations and tribes of the earth. 
God has graciously restored to us the lost measure of 
a man, which is an obedient and loving child of the 
heavenly Father. Look at the mind of such a child : it 
contains nothing which God does not love; it does 
nothing which would lead it away from God ; it desires 
and muses and resolves and feels in communion with 
God. It must be in a greater or less degree ignorant, 
for it is the growing mind of a child ; and for the same 
reason it is liable to err, and will need instruction, sup- 
port, and training : but it will not rebel either against 
the expressed will of its father which is law, or against 
that instinctive knowledge of what is becoming and 
secretly agreeable to a father from a son, which nature 
herself teaches. Look, I say, at the mind of such 
a son. There is no pollution. What is pollution in a 
son ? A taint upon the son's heart which, as a bright 
mirror, ought to reflect the father's image ; the loss 
of self-government, permitting the ascendency of the 
inferior nature over the superior, the senses which 


connect us with the earth to master the mind which 
links us wifch God. Earth never of itself defiles, for 
it was made and fashioned by the Creator ; but the 
moment it escapes command it becomes filthiness 
to the flesh and spirit. Pollution in the sight of God 
is earth out of its place, and He who made man his 
son to have power over it, which power is a feature of 
his own image, seeing that power surrendered, beholds 
a fallen and defiled offspring. Earth was once Eden, 
and man's feet walked on it, and man's hands touched 
it without taint. Man was holy, and the surrounding 
creation was sacred, because everything was in its 
place, as God left it. But when the Creator's son and 
priest and heir placed himself under another sway than 
that of his Father, and obeyed where he should have 
ruled, everything lost harmony, purity, and strength; 
and paradise shrivelled up to a desert. Nothing 
remained holy when man ceased to be pure — ceased, 
that is, to walk with heaven above him and within him, 
and earth under his feet ; instead of having earth above 
him and within him, and heaven under his feet. 

What is pollution in a son? The supremacy of 
tastes dishonouring to his father's rank, making a 
heavenly mind of the earth, earthy; and mark how 
such an uncleanness will spread. It banishes frankness 
of intercourse ; confidence dies, and with it truth ; the 
son fears and lies like a slave, the father punishes like 
an angry lord ; the son hides himself from the father, 
the father hides himself from the son ; and the evils 
of alienation grow so rapidly that the souls which were 
one become two opposite natures. With love, frank- 
ness, confidence, and sympathy gone, and the contrary 
vices mastering his nature, man the son will become 
as incapable of knowing God the Father as he is 
unwilling to meet him. In the fellowship of the 


human mind with God, the loss of sympathy is always 
accompanied by a loss of power, and an ever-increasing 
loss of power. The mind becomes assimilated to the 
element in which it thinks. If God be not within it, 
the faculty that perceives God will be impaired ; as the 
eye, if kept in continual darkness, ultimately loses 
the power of reflecting light. Man, who was made to 
see God and to be with him, has lost both the sight and 
the knowledge of his Father. He is in an unnatural 
state. In the absence of heavenly light he has bent 
his eye from generation to generation earthward, and 
his children have become spiritually blind. When they 
ceased to glorify God as God, their foolish hearts were 
darkened; when they did not like to retain God in 
their knowledge, God gave them over to a mind void of 
judgment, and then followed that catalogue of unspeak- 
able results that go down in steps of degeneracy to 
the chambers of death, and to the remoter passages 
of hell.^ 

What is purity of heart ? It is that state of mind in 
which a man becomes a man once more, a loving and 
obedient son of the heavenly Father ; it is a recovery 
of the proper form of a man, which is an image of the 

This deliverance from the degenerate race of the 
man who fell is accomplished by the mediation of the 
Man who did not fall, Christ Jesus. And as we 
have borne the image of the earth, superinduced by 
rebellion and pollution, so through the reconciling love 
and regenerating spirit of the second Adam, we may 
regain the image of the heavenly. f In Christ our 
nature ascends to where it was before — nay, to an 
elevation that overshadows the felicities of Eden. 

* Rom. i. 21, &c. f 3 Cor. xv. 49. 


First, the rebellion which drove us from God is 
pardoned in Christ, and the soul that grew not merely 
dark but blind from the absence of the Father's face 
draws near and ventures tremblingly to utter the old 
cry, Abba ! From long disuse it is at first a stammer 
and but imperfectly comprehended; but the lips, in- 
structed by the new heart, shape it distinctly at last, 
and Father, Abba, Father ! is again the natural cry 
from man to God. The earthly, the sensual, and the 
devilish as necessarily depart from the mind in the 
reconciled presence of God as night shadows haste 
from the advance of morning. I do not say they flee as 
instantly but as necessarily, for God is reconciled to us 
through Christ, because Christ's sacrificial blood is able 
to cleanse from all sin. God would not accept it for us 
were it not able to do this. It is appointed to do this. 
In sacrificial language, which at our altar, the cross, is 
not figurative but literal, it makes clean before God the 
mind that accepts its atftnement. When we stand 
before that cross and trust in the sufficiency of the 
Offering presented thereupon, our guilt at once leaves 
us, and our hearts begin to grow white, to lose their 
spots of defilement, pride, untruthfulness, dissimulation, 
and every worldly lust and ungodly habit. We are in 
the light as God is in the light, and the blood of Jesus 
Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin. * 

In one word, we are pure in heart : the holy child- 
ren of a holy Father ; and the pollution that brought 
darkness into the soul and induced blindness having 
been purged away, followed by the purifying know- 
ledge that God through Christ is our Father, and by 
the quickening consciousness of the Father's love, 
the eyes of our understanding recover strength to 

* 1 John i. 7. 


move, to receive heavenly light, and to reflect it ; 
every power and affection of the soul returns to God, 
becomes assimilated to God, and we begin to see God, 
which is the inevitable result of this renewed and loving 
intercourse, for the child was made to see its Father. 
Our minds in bringing themselves to perceive God 
follow the intended bent of their faculties. The eyes of 
our understanding were fashioned to look at God. The 
laws of their perception are in exact harmony with the 
light of the object upon which they gaze. A man 
looking upon his Maker is in no new or forced position ; 
he ought always to have been looking there. The vision 
of God which is the beatitude of the text is not so 
much the reward of purity of heart as its inevitable 
consequence. I cannot speak of other beings of whose 
relation to God I know nothing, but the mind of a man 
who is God's child must see God if it be pure. Angels 
may possibly be admitted to the inner glories of the 
divine Majesty as a reward for service. But man, 
made perfect in purity, passes by the ranks of his 
Father's servitors, and claims and naturally assumes 
the incommunicable heritage of a son. Where should he 
be but at the side of his Father ? His eyes were made 
to meet those of his Father, and to rest their gaze upon 
a countenance of which his own is a copy. Human 
powers having a family affinity to the attributes of 
God, find their natural occupation in him ; and the 
human heart gives and receives love, confidence, and 
joy, 'in the unspeakable communion of a child. 

As a warrant for these statements let me adduce 
the position in heaven of our adorable Christ. He is 
the Son of God in the eternal generation of the Father, 
the second person in the ever-blessed Trinity, very 
God of very God. But he is also the Son of God as 
an offspring in the human family. He is ' equal to 


the Father, as touching his Godhead, and inferior to the 
Father, as touching his manhood.' He is ' God and man, 
yet he is not two, but one Christ; one not by con- 
version of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the 
manhood into God.'* Mark that expression, * taking the 
manhood into God.' Manhood can be taken into God. 
Could it ever have been taken into God if man had not 
been created in God's image ? Is it not the easy blending 
together of one nature ? Our manhood is in God now in 
the person of Christ. His mind, whom we must claim as 
a brother, whose faculties are constructed after the pat- 
tern of our own, who when he was upon earth received 
impressions from earth as we derive them, whose 
human character was formed on earth, and by associa- 
tions and influences similar in kind to those that shape 
our own, and who when he ascended to heaven took 
with him impressions, memories, and mental features 
earthborn — I say his mind is now in God ; in God in a 
sense in which it can be said of no other being ; in God 
by a unity of substance, making one Christ. 

With these considerations read the text : ' Blessed 
are the pure in heart : for they shall see God.' Every 
man in his own order, Christ the first, afterwards 
they that are Christ's. Christ is Man in God, one 
Being. We are not identified with the divine essence : 
but the fact that there is such a union in the instance 
of the Man Christ Jesus will convince you how close 
a fellowship is possible. The Man Jesus sees God 
with self-intimacy ; he is conscious of God as he is 
conscious of himself; and God the eternal Son is 
conscious of the Man as he is conscious of himself; 
and the thoughts, feelings, powers, communications, 
and receivings of both natures are perceptible to 

* The Athanasian Creed. 


the consciousness of one person. But as Christ is one 
with God, the pure in heart are one with Christ. ' I in 
them, and thou in me, that they may he made perfect 
in one; ' and again, ' That they may be one, even as we 
are one/ ' * ' Words that remind us of the triune 
counsel to bring us into being. Let us make man an 
image of ourselves.' (Mallet.) 

What a weight of glory is in reversion for the heirs 
of God and the joint-heirs with Christ ! They shall 
see God. Sight is a beautiful sense. It surpasses its 
fellows in rapidity of acquisition, facility of action, and 
breadth of command. Touch creeps, sight has an 
angel's wing, and sweeps the firmament. It seems to 
extend your presence with your gaze. You seem to be 
everywhere within the limits of your horizon, and in 
proportion to know what you see. And waiting upon 
the sight is the imagination, storing itself with the 
patterns of the seen, and then with these patterns 
transporting itself and you into the illimitable void 
of thought to make firmaments and people worlds of 
its own. By the nimbleness and ethereal command 
of sight on earth, supported and outstripped by the 
wonderful endowment of fancy, we may learn a little, 
perhaps, of the meaning of the expression, ' seeing God.' 
The nearest analogy upon which we can presume to 
conjecture the action of the divine mind is sight, as in 
that passage in the Chronicles, ' The eyes of the Lord 
run to and fro throughout the whole earth. 'f And 
again, ' The eyes of the Lord are in every place, 
beholding the evil and the good.' { And again, ' Thou 
God seest me.' § God knows us instantly, or, as we 
make it intelligible to ourselves, He sees us. In heaven 

* John xvii. 22, 23. f 2 Chron. xvi. 9. J Prov. xv. 3. 

§ Gen. xvi. 13. 


we shall see Him, know Him by intuition. On earth we 
are rather known of God than know him. We see him 
through a glass, an obscure and most imperfect mirror; 
in heaven we shall see him face towards face. Now 
we know in part ; then we shall know even as also we 
are known. * After the same manner in which we are 
seen or known of God, we shall see or know God. 

We may be, like the living creatures of the 
Apocalypse, 'full of eyes round about and within, 'f 
and have the expanse of the Deity above, beneath, 
around us. Not the Creator's works, but the Creator ! 
The love of God to us sinners may be seen in its 
conception, and the revelation of every event in its 
history : the fair idea springing from the first Mind, 
and working itself out in the unspeakable gift of Christ, 
in all the gifts that streamed upon us with Christ, in 
the countless ministers of these gifts, and in the degrees 
of illumination and blessing by which they advanced one 
upon the other ; prophecy succeeding type and history 
accomplishing prophecy, and all converging with accu- 
mulations of glory upon Christ ! Blessed are the pure 
in heart, for they shall see. Every mystery will open 
itself at their approach, and ten thousand voices of 
loving invitation will cry to the gazers, ' losing them- 
selves in the beatific vision,' Come and see ! And Christ 
himself shall lead them, the God of heaven and the 
brother of man. 

I shall conclude this discourse with two reflections. 

First. Next to the faculty of seeing God is the 
faculty of interpreting God. We have said that purity 
of heart is the condition of intuitively knowing Him in 
heaven. We must now affirm that, all other things 
being equal, none but a holy mind can hope to interpret 

* 1 Cor. xiii. 12. f Rev. iv. 8. 


God correctly on earth. It is the pure mind rather 
than the learned that finds out the meaning of the 
Scriptures. Sin is a disease of the vision, which 
Hebrew and Greek "cannot purge from the student's 
eyes ; and any impression of the spiritual revelations of 
the Bible coming from the mere scholar is no more 
to be believed than descriptions of scenery from an 
observer of very defective sight. Both may tell you 
what is true, but they are indebted to other witnesses ; 
and the personal conclusions of him who borrows 
other people's eyes are always to be suspected. The 
most finished scholars have been engaged in attempt- 
ing to draw from the Gospels an accurate image of 
Christianity ; they have been endeavouring to see 
Jesus Christ through historic glasses. They have 
visited the Holy Land, and made themselves familiar 
with the sacred haunts of New Testament story ; they 
have studied the account of the crucifixion on Calvary 
itself, and pondered the evidence for the resurrection 
standing over the tomb of Christ. Languages and 
dialects, both ancient and modern, have made them 
masters of texts, readings, and early annotations, and 
the history of doctrines, and of Churches ; and with 
these rare advantages, and the accomplished skill of 
veteran scholars, they have produced what they con- 
sider to be a fairly accurate account of Christ's person, 
doctrine, and institutions. Why is it they have 
miserably failed, themselves being the judges of each 
other ? Why is it they have made blunders of which 
a Sabbath-school child might be ashamed ? Why is 
it that a Christ from their hands is a monster of the 
fancy, being neither God, man, nor angel, and as 
intangible as a poet's fable ? Their learning is not at 
fault, their diligence is unquestionable. But here 
is their failure ; they imagine that Christ is to be dis- 


covered, whereas he is simply revealed ; he is made 
manifest to them, and to them only, who approach the 
mystery of his person in a prayerful, humble, reverent 
spirit; who do not try to force their entrance into 
divine knowledge, but ask to be admitted. The door 
is a living door, and opens and shuts of his own accord; 
the way is a living way, and is straight and luminous, 
or cloudy and tortuous, of his own accord. Blessed are 
they who knock at that door and inquire for that way 
to find purity of heart ; those who seek to lose their 
pride and selfishness shall soon lose their doubts. 

Secondly. There is a reflection which equally con- 
cerns us all, it is indeed the application of the text as 
it affects the unholy : they shall never see God. ' With- 
out holiness no man shall see the Lord.' As to the 
reward and punishment awaiting respectively the just 
and the wicked, we have no precise knowledge. Specu- 
lation has a wide field of conjecture, but the pulpit is 
not the place to expatiate over ground purely imagina- 
tive. It is enough for me to insist upon the positive 
doctrine, no holiness, no sight of God. Where the 
unholy man will be sent I know not, what his eternal 
privations may be, or what his actual woe, I will not 
pretend to declare : this I know, he will never see 
God. An immortality of atheism : not the atheism of 
unbelief, but the atheism of privation, a dreary eternity, 
in banishment ' from the presence of the Lord, and from 
the glory of his power. ' * Never with the Lord : to be 
somewhere for ever where Christ is not, that is hell. 
In this world you may be contented without Christ, 
and yet you would be more unhappy than you are if 
there were a great gulf fixed between you and Christian 
privileges and Christian people. You who are unholy, 

* 2 Thess. i. 9. 


have no conception how much your life is indebted to 
holiness, to the Holy Ghost whom you grieve, to holy 
doctrines, holy saints, and holy witnesses, departed 
hence in the Lord— all these are yours through the 
riches of the divine forbearance that they may make 
you holy. But if you are not made holy, if you end your 
probation as you are, you can take nothing of Christian 
growth with you, and I cannot conceive of an unholy 
mind passing out of the body into a holy state. 



A Sermon delivered in Brunswick Chapel, at the Liverpool 
Conference, Jolt 24th, 1881. 

' And, behold, I send forth the promise of my Father upon you : but 
tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power 
from on high.'' — Luke xxiv. 49. 

1 And ivhen the day of Pentecost teas fully come, they were all with 
one accord in one place? — Acts ii. 1. 


A HE subject of my discourse is the prayer '-meeting 
of the Church, including in this expression other 
assemblies of Christ* s people, whether for fellowship in 
piefcy, for council in administration, or for the public 
declaration and execution of the judgments of the 
Church. We suppose that the Christian believer has 
entered into his closet for the renewal of exhausted 
strength ; that then he has called together the members 
of his family, and offered upon his home-altar the 
morning and evening sacrifice. And now we see him 
put aside for awhile his private Christian rights and his 
family position, and take his part as a member of the 
larger and ever-increasing household of the Church. 
The Church thus composed is gathered together by the 
command of its Leader and Head to wait for a par- 
ticular class of power that does not spring out of it, 



but must descend upon it. There is already power in 
the faith, knowledge, and character of each member; 
there is great power, both communicative and self- 
adjusting, when the wisdom of many experiences is 
matured into the decision of one assembly. But 
there is another power which is neither in individual 
contributions of influence, nor in the carefully weighed 
judgments of the congregation. It is distinguished 
from all other endowments ; it is power ' from on 
high' to invest with supernatural force the testimony 
of the Church that Jesus Christ is risen indeed. The 
converting and regenerating mission of the Church is 
to be accomplished by this testimony, and by this only. 
Men cannot be saved until they believe that the dead 
Christ revived and is now their ascended Lord; and 
they cannot know this miracle until another miracle 
demonstrates the truth to their understanding. That 
other miracle is a certain spiritual energy conveyed 
from heaven to clothe the witness of the Church. 
Let me illustrate this statement by reviewing the his- 
tory of the events which led up to the divine Pentecost. 
After Christ had formed his Church, and before his 
ministers had opened their commission, or his people 
had fallen into organised Church duties, he commanded 
them to assemble for prayer, and to continue in prayer 
until they received the promise of the Father. Observe 
that the Lord himself had done much for them both 
before and after the resurrection. He had made them 
clean through the word.* He had not only ' showed him- 
self alive after his passion by many infallible proofs,' 
but had gone out of his way to humour and overcome 
the obstinate scepticism of one who insisted upon 
alleging his own conditions of belief. He had com- 

* John xv. 3. 


municated to them a measure of the Holy Ghost, and 
had so far illumined their souls and strengthened their 
faith and courage, that they were ready at once for the 
onset of the approaching and terrible fight of faith : 
e Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom 
to Israel ? ' As if they would add, We are prepared ; 
we are longing to vindicate thy claims, to brave all 
forms of opposition, whether of argument or terror; 
to face death itself in the work of Christianising the 
world for thee ! Mark well the reply that rebuked and 
informed the new zeal of these impatient witnesses : 
' Ye shall receive power when the Holy Ghost is come 
upon you, and then ye shall be my witnesses, both in 
Jerusalem and in all Judgea and Samaria, and unto the 
uttermost parts of the earth.' They must tarry, first, 
for a few moments until that cloud which was now 
descending from heaven upon the spot where they stood 
should receive Him out of their sight ; and then, having 
seen Him go up to heaven, they must return to Jeru- 
salem and tarry further until, in unmeasured plenitude, 
the Holy Ghost should fall upon them. They were to 
tarry, not each one in his own house or lodging ; they 
were to go to one place and continue in prayer and 
supplication, men and women. For the first time in 
their intercourse with the Master they received in lieu 
of his bodily presence the word of his mouth. They were 
compelled to address themselves, albeit with reluctance 
and misgiving, to the study of a principle of which 
they had never heard, or heard to no purpose, until 
after the resurrection : ' Because thou hast seen me, 
hast thou believed ? Blessed are they that have not 
seen, and yet have believed.'* This is the word upon 
which he had caused them to hope : ' Ye shall be 

* John xx. 29. 


baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days 

I love to dwell upon the place of their assembly. It 
was the chamber in which the last Passover was cele- 
brated and the first Eucharist. It was the room in 
which Jesus appeared to them on the evening of the 
day of his resurrection, and where eight days after 
that event there occurred the memorable conversa- 
tion with Thomas the sceptic. It was just forty-four 
days since they first entered that apartment and sat 
round the great Teacher, profoundly ignorant of the 
meaning of his death, and, necessarily, of the nature 
of his kingdom ; for on that first occasion and in that 
room they revived a miserable dispute, of which they 
had just sense enough to be ashamed — which of them 
should be accounted the greatest.^ Poor simple men, 
playing with a child image of future distinction, and 
tossing the golden toy from one to another in the 
conjectures and assumptions of fancy, while the 
Master sat by, with a pity so exquisitely fine and 
tender, that, although his spirit was oppressed even 
unto death by the appalling future of the next hour, 
he condescended for their sakes to be at leisure for 
a few moments from his own agony, to make their 
petty controversy the text of a noble discourse on 
precedence in service : ' He that is greatest among 
you, let him be as the younger ; and he that is chief 
as he that doth serve. He that sitteth at meat is 
greater than he that serveth. ... I am among you as 
he that serveth.' That night he was arrested and 
led as a lamb to the slaughter, and the disciples 
were scattered as sheep having no shepherd. The 
next day (Friday), the fifteenth day of Nisan — the 

* Acts i. 5. f Luke xxii. 24 — 27- 


darkest this world ever knew and the brightest — the 
divine Victim hung slain upon the cross until nightfall ; 
and the hopes of the Church went with him into the 
grave, and remained with him during the frightful sus- 
pense of Saturday - 

The disciples had fled their several ways at the 
time of the arrest ; but the upper chamber had become 
a haunt for them, and whether by concert or by 
instinct they crept back to it, and spent Saturday, 
their last Jewish sabbath, and Sunday, their first 
Christian sabbath, the glorious resurrection day, until 
the evening of which, however, there was no rest for 
them. The tumult of conflicting passions, like the 
quickly alternate darkness and light of a storm, throbbed 
in the hearts of these men, as rumour after rumour 
reached them of an empty tomb, a vision of angels, a 
passing form of the Christ ; and at evening time there 
tvas light. He knew the guest chamber ; his spirit had 
been with them there; and at the crisis of their 
intolerable excitement, as in a former trial when they 
were nearly lost in a Gennesaret gale, his bodily presence 
was suddenly in their midst, and the tossed and 
wrecked spirits of the men were landed upon certainty 
and salvation. 

There is something in our nature that makes us 
cling, if not in person, in memory, to certain spots of 
ground ; a building, a room, the haunt of a par- 
ticular tree, a river, a homestead, which some trial or 
joy has invested with unfading associations. Such 
places have power over us, and give power to us ; and 
of all places which history has made conspicuous, that 
private room in Jerusalem, belonging to a friend of 
Christ whose name has not come down to us, is the 
most illustrious for memorable scenes. Even the glory 
of Sinai must pale before the splendours of this upper 


chamber. The miracles of the wilderness were ordinary 
events as compared with the stupendous marvel and 
significance of Christ's resurrection. The first and 
second temples in their structure, in their enormous 
wealth, and, above all, in their traditions, stood alone in 
the world, not only in every interest which can attach 
to edifices, but in historic position, the great landmarks 
of the pre-Christian ages ; and yet, in view of that 
unadorned and unnoticed chamber, we may apply to 
them a comparison of St. Paul's : ' They have no glory 
by reason of the glory that excelleth.' To this room 
the scattered Church returned after the ascension. I 
shall not attempt to analyse or define the constitution 
of that assembly. It may be well, however, to remark 
in passing (1) that every one of the eleven apostles 
was present ; and that the twelfth in the place of Judas 
was elected before the descent of the power from on 
high ; (2) that the number present and registered did 
not represent the numerical force of the Church, but 
only those who happened at the time to be in Jeru- 
salem ; these, however, consisting of the chief wit- 
nesses of the resurrection ; (3) that certain women 
were in the company, those, doubtless, who had 
waited upon Jesus, of whom a brief list is given 
by St. Luke in his eighth chapter ; and pre-eminently 
Mary, the ever-blessed mother of the Lord, and 
other relatives of his. In this brief and last notice 
of the illustrious Mary, there is a ruthless exposure of 
the hollowness of the Marian dogmas of the Roman 
Church. She was present in the Pentecost meeting as 
a worshipper, and not as an object of worship. If it 
be true that the titles, the honours, and the power 
ascribed to Mary are the appointments of God, it 
is impossible to imagine that in the early history of 
the Church of Christ, with the presence of the virgin 


in the midst of his people, when the recent and dread- 
ful blank of his withdrawal from sight would have 
made welcome the substitution of one so closely and 
altogether one with him as his mother, there should be 
no other allusion to her in the Acts of the Apostles, and 
no single reference to her in those expositions of faith, 
those disclosures of all the sources of comfort, and 
those complete treatises of Christian duty which con- 
stitute the remaining books of the New Testament. 

And now, brethren, having described the incidents 
which conduct us to the Pentecost, and having noticed 
some characteristics of the assembly convened by the 
command of Christ in the upper chamber in Jerusalem, 
let us make an effort, and it will require, as it 
deserves, an effort, to study and make real to our- 
selves the picture of a Church on the eve of a great 
work, tarrying for power to accomplish it. When I say 
that it will require an effort to represent this event to 
ourselves, I do not mean that it will ask at our hands 
an elaborate description of the place, the time, the 
men, and the features of the meeting. It is not so 
much an effort of description as an effort of spiritual 
discernment which the reproducing of the Pentecost 
scene demands. I pray earnestly that the Holy Spirit 
may assist not mainly our imagination, but our insight 
and judgment, that we may grasp the condition of that 
primitive Church before the advent of the power. In 
view of the task it was called to undertake it was help- 
less. Let us recall that task : ' Ye shall be my wit- 
nesses, both in Jerusalem and in all Judaea and Samaria, 
and unto the uttermost parts of the earth;' which 
means, as interpreted by the passage in St. Matthew : 
1 Ye shall make disciples of all the nations by testifying 
of me.' The power which that Church lacked was the 
energy of resistless testimony- It possessed the spirit 


of prayer, and could witness unto Grod a faith in the 
divine Son; it possessed the spirit of fellowship in 
which the members could encourage and edify one 
another ; it possessed the spirit of Church organisation, 
in which it found a warrant to seek divine aid in 
electing for a vacancy in the apostolate ; nay, more 
than this, it was actually inspired by a zeal for work, 
and animated by an impatient desire to deliver its pent 
up Gospel to a lost world. It had every ordinary 
qualification necessary to complete the conditions of 
conclusive testimony : the apostles were eye-witnesses ; 
they were agreed as to the facts of their witness ; they 
represented such a variety of knowledge by reason of 
their separate temperaments and the diverse oppor- 
tunities of their observation, that every possible objec- 
tion would find its appropriate answer from one or 
another of the witnesses, and every conceivable argu- 
ment, whether of scepticism or prejudice, would be 
refuted and silenced : what more did they want to make 
their testimony irresistible ? 

It is true that they would have to contend against 
the biblical erudition of the Pharisees and the scholarly 
acuteness of the Sadducees, and that these were great 
masters of the very Scriptures out of which the 
apostles would have to reason that Jesus was the 
Christ. But they were not tarrying for theological 
acquirements and dialectic skill. It was not proposed 
that they should be marched against scholars and 
literary men in the heavy armour of scholastic contro- 
versialists ; they had not proved the weapons of col- 
leges, and must go into the field without them. They 
were called to be the witnesses of Jesus; and to 
accomplish this mission their human preparations were 
complete : in any case the tarrying for a few days would 
not advance them. It is true also that they would 


have to appear before rulers and to reason with states- 
men ; that they would have to brave the threatenings 
and resentments of public law when its enactments 
happened to stand in their way ; that frequently they 
would be a mark for the assassination of conspirators, 
or the capricious ferocity of mobs ; that they would 
require the tact, the address, the coolness, the ready 
resource, and the immovable fortitude which we are in 
the habit of associating with accomplished men of the 
world ; and that these apostles were in no sense men of 
the world, but rude Galilean peasants and fishermen. 
But if qualities like these were essential to apostolic 
equipment, they must be acquired by experience rather 
than by tarrying in meditation and council. JSTo ; I 
affirm that every human preparation possible to that 
assembly was present, and yet it was helpless. I will 
go further, and maintain that if every apostle had 
been a Gamaliel in learning, if wise men after the flesh, 
and mighty, and noble had been called, if all the mem- 
bers of the Sanhedrim had been chosen witnesses of 
the resurrection, and had cast their learning, their 
wealth, their reputation, and their authority into the 
treasury of that first Church, it would not have changed 
one whit the helplessness of its position in relation to 
its work. To convince men that Jesus rose from the 
dead requires other arts of persuasion than logic, and 
credible evidence, and ecclesiastical authority : to induce 
men to put their passions under a yoke of holiness, to 
compel a Roman to glory in the Crucified, and a Jew 
to accept the sacrifice of Calvary, to turn upside down 
the current notions of power and wisdom and pleasure 
and progress, to change the aims, the manners, and the 
very springs of life — in one word, and it shall be the 
word of Jesus himself, to open men's eyes (who believed 
they could see), and to turn them from darkness to light, 


and from the poiver of 8 atari unto God,* no human 
preparation is equal to a work like this ! 

I do not mean for a moment that human prepara- 
tion is left out of the account. The assembly of Pen- 
tecost was a human instrumentality of superb fitness 
for the work of testifying that Jesus is the Christ. 
He had himself chosen the chief men, had imparted 
to them the mysteries of his kingdom, and instructed 
them in the art of interpreting his own Scriptures ; 
the eternal Father had revealed to their spirits 
the person of the eternal Son, and the man Christ 
Jesus had kindled in their hearts the enthusiasm of 
a personal love which was ready to face torture and 
death in defence of his claims. But the fact still 
remains. A witness may have knowledge, sympathy, 
honesty, a ready tongue, and an eager wish to deliver 
his testimony; and yet if he witness to a miracle he 
must receive power from the region of miracles, or 
he wift not command practical belief. 

Brethren, it is to this confession of helplessness, 
until we receive power from on high, that I desire 
to bring my own spirit and to see all my fellow 
labourers brought during the present Conference. 
I am convinced that this truth and the confession 
of it must be wrought into our souls by the Holy 
Spirit before we can hope for any wide descent of 
power. Our difficulty lies not in admitting its neces- 
sity, but in learning our uselessness as an aggressive 
Church without it. Our fathers mastered the lesson 
readily, because as yet they possessed not the emblems 
of Church power by which our faith is liable to be 
deceived or divided. Without chapels, without endow- 
ments, without wealth, without colleges, without great 

* Acts xxvi. 18. 


working departments, without fame, and being for 
the most part men untrained in the theology and 
eloquence of schools, they knew that they were aban- 
doned to the miracle of the Holy Ghost ; they had no 
surroundings to distract them from this master con- 
dition of success. I will presume to insist upon it that 
we are as absolutely abandoned to the miracle as they 
were; that the visible Methodism which we have 
built, and whose dimensions are so imposing, has not 
altered in the slightest degree our relation to the 
' power from on high ' ; that all that we have 
gathered together, and all that we command, does not 
contribute one solitary influence to the power that 
converts a sinner from the error of his ways. To 
acknowledge this in theory is easy enough, it is a 
part of our creed ; to feel it through the thick 
covering of an immense Church system, to realise 
the utter nakedness it announces, is impossible with- 
out the personal demonstration of that same Spirit 
whose energy is the one requirement of the day. If 
that demonstration be made to every worker in this 
assembly, to every minister and layman attending this 
Conference, there will follow such a cry of supplication, 
such a united violence of prayer, that the power will 
pour itself into us like air passing into a vacuum, and 
the rushing, mighty wind will fill our ministry, our col- 
leges, our schools, our pastorate ; and Methodism will 
again furnish the testifying power of the Church, and 
nothing that even this age can array against us shall be 
able to withstand a testimony whose wisdom and spirit 
are from on high ! 

May we not regard this Conference as a tarrying 
pause for the reception of power ? We are between 
the concluding and the opening year. The Master 
has renewed his command and our commission : ' Ye 


shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all 
Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts 
of the earth;' in the cities and districts surrounding 
you and throughout the world. Dare we accept the 
commission and venture upon the work of the new 
year without a baptism of testifying force ? We have 
piety among us, but so had the first believers before 
the power fell upon them. We have the wisdom of 
council and organisation to elect our officers and to 
perfect our departments ; so had they We have the 
spirit of holy fellowship, and can come together with a 
psalm, a doctrine, a revelation, and cheer and edify one 
another in love; so also the Church in the upper 
chamber when they were waiting for power. And 
without any extraordinary effusion of grace we may 
now prosecute the work of our sessions with sufficient 
ability and unbroken harmony, and we may return to 
our circuits and take our places in the vast Method- 
ist Chjurch, with its system repaired in this organ, 
retouched in that, adapted in a third, and war- 
ranted to work for another year ; and during that year 
it may accomplish great things ; relieve its properties 
and funds of debt, multiply its chapels, extend its 
school work, circulate its literature, and return an 
"Unimpaired numerical force. But we were called and 
made a Church, not to keep the breath of our own life 
from going out, but to bring breath into the dead that 
are mouldering on every side of us, to go into the open 
valley of the slain and prophesy upon them until the 
breath of God pass into them also, and prophesy again, 
perpetually recruiting the army of the living from the 
scattered and dishonoured bones of the dead. ' Ye 
shall be my witnesses,' not to one another ; not within 
the inclosures of a Church where all are livino- in 
God ; but unto the perishing without ; to be the voice of 


the Son of God unto the dead that they may pass out of 
death into life. This is the field of Methodist work ; 
if we are powerless here there is no reason for our 
existence anywhere. And apart from a miraculous 
gift of testimony we are powerless here ; powerless as 
a converting, a resurrection agency We can enforce 
upon men the practice of new habits ; we can make 
the drunkard sober, and the wasteful thrifty ; we can 
remodel the houses and elevate into intelligence 
and self-reliance the life of the poor ; and all honour 
and success to the generosity and wisdom of those 
institutions which soften into amenity the harsh lines 
of poverty and dependence. Moreover, I do not 
deny that the Church is duly following the steps of her 
Leader when her paths drop fatness for the needy. But 
her mission upon the earth is the testimony of Jesus, 
and her privilege in this dispensation of the Spirit 
is to deliver an irresistible witness. We must tarry 
for this ! 

But wherein is our right to appropriate the 
promise, * Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost 
not many days hence : tarry ye in the city until ye be 
clothed with power from on high ? ' If we are a Church 
in any sense our right to claim this promise is inde- 
feasible ; for our work is to make disciples by the force 
of testimony ; and that testimony is concerning things 
not seen ; things which are foolishness to the natural 
man ; which he cannot know, because they are spirit- 
ually discerned. And with all our knowledge of the 
human mind, and our command of the appliances of 
conviction, we can no more put faith into a hearer 
of the Word than can the most skilled anatomist ( create 
a soul under the ribs of death.' And for this reason 
the pentecostal promise of the Spirit is the perpetual 
heritage of a testifying Church. Our right to the 


promise is founded upon our right to exist, since God 
has called us to exist and made us a people. Sever us 
from the miracle of the Pentecost, deny that we are 
'successors to the * power from on high,' and you 
reduce us to a philanthropic institution. We are a 
charity organisation. If there be no miracle of the 
Spirit there is no Church. But we have an ancestry ; 
and while we claim to be holders of the apostolic com- 
mission and heirs to the converting endowments of the 
apostolic Church, we are supported by the nearer his- 
tory of our fathers. I am not going to speak in their 
praise. The pulpit is not the place to publish the 
honour that cometh from men. I am not going to 
extol their deeds or exalt their success, but to state 
what they believed as to their relation to the Pentecost 
miracle. They affirmed it to be their conviction that 
they were simply the instruments of the Holy Ghost ; 
that, putting aside human infirmities and the inequali- 
ties of* hum an service, the excellency of their ministry 
was simply of God and in no sense of man : that the 
demonstration of their testimony, a demonstration that 
confounded the wise, appalled the ignorant, and 
brought salvation to multitudes of every class, was 
the mighty power of God the Holy Ghost. Method- 
ism was not born of a system any more than the 
apostolic Churches were born of a system. Methodism 
was not a preconcerted method for collecting congrega- 
tions and organising societies ; it sprang into existence 
from individual attestations of faith. It grew into the 
wider testimony of proclamation : for every conversion 
was the birth of a new evangelist. ' The Lord gave the 
word, and great was the army of those that published 
it ; ' * and in houses and streets and fields the voice of 


Ps. lxviii. 11. 


preaching was lifted up ; it was an irresistible voice ; 
and, to borrow from the description of a work precisely 
similar in origin and character, believers were added to 
the Lord, multitudes both of men and women. This was 
the Methodist movement, spontaneous in the rising of 
its life and falling into structure by the exigences of its 
irrepressible activities ; like a river too Ml of body and 
of force to admit at first of being under the control of 
prescribed embankments, it ploughed up its own course ; 
a very irregular course, spreading into abandoned 
regions and tracts that had been the despair of the cul- 
tivator and were ( nigh unto cursing ; ' but whither- 
soever it rolled the wilderness and the solitary place 
were made glad ; and the desert blossomed abundantly, 
and rejoiced even with joy and singing.* 

Brethren, there is ground close to our doors as 
parched and desolate as any spot which our fathers 
reclaimed; districts unvisited by the surveyor — nay, 
positively fenced out from the allotments of cultivation 
as belonging to no one. These districts belong to us ; 
but we are powerless to take possession of them unless 
the divine force from on high shall again drive the 
united currents of our Gospel testimony, our love for 
Jesus, our sympathy for souls purchased but not 
reclaimed, and our experimental word, outside our own 
lines of circuit work and according to the measure of 
another line,f even that which God has apportioned 
to us, a measure to reach souls which no man cares 
for, which no Church has yet overtaken, even unto the 
margin of hell. 

And now, brethren, having proved our right to 
the apostolic Pentecost by argument, testimony, and 
tradition, let us command it by supplication. Let our 

* Isa. xxxv. 1, 2. t 2 Cor. x. 13. 



prayers be distinguished by those two features which 
are recorded as marking the wrestlings of the upper 
chamber, perfect accord and patient continuance. 

That waiting Church was in perfect accord. One 
subject only filled their minds, the promised power. 
There was no dispute about it ; and yet probably there 
was little agreement in their views as to what form it 
would assume or in what manner it would be distri- 
buted ; but they wasted not a moment in discussing 
views ; they did nothing to distract the concentration 
of their mind upon two facts : first, that in whatever 
form determined the Holy Ghost would come ; and, 
secondly, that his coming would be in answer to prayer. 
The business before them was supplication ; and what- 
ever exercises engaged them beside the literal act of 
crying unto God, everything was intended to give 
light and force and encouragement to prayer. The 
principal effort of their understanding, when it was not 
absolved in the inspiration and expression of desire, 
was what in Scripture is termed a calling to remem- 
brance. All the words of Jesus were ringing in their 
ears. Every depressing suggestion awakened by the 
absence of his visible form was answered by his own 
explanation : It is expedient for you that I go away. 
When it occurred to them that the exposition of their 
Teacher's doctrines and life was committed to them, 
and that they had neither rank, nor learning, nor 
authority for the greatest work ever entrusted to man, 
and their hearts sank within them at the thought, they 
were recalled to fidelity and courage by the promise, 
( Eowbeit when he the Spirit of truth is come, he will 
guide you into all truth.' You will observe that although 
these first witnesses were humble men, humble in sta- 
tion and in culture, their unity was as intelligent as it 
was hearty ; it was not all emotion. There was faith 


based upon knowledge, there was love under the high- 
est conditions of strength ; it was love with a great 
task before it — not the task of winning its object, 
that of itself is a powerful motive — but the task of 
obedience to express its estimate of the object pos- 
sessed. It was love hallowed by reverence, purified by 
trust, and intensified by gratitude. 

The second feature of their supplication was patient 
continuance. Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost 
not many days hence. It might be two, it might be 
twenty days; their impatience naturally favoured the 
earlier period : and that the delay of the promise was a 
trial is apparent from the words, ' and these all . . 
continued steadfastly in prayer.'* Like Elijah they 
began when there was nothing to be seen in the 
heavens ; for more than a week there was no outward 
sound of the coming rain. But the Father had reserved 
the season, and they would inquire no further about 
it; they would wait; none of the conditions pre- 
scribed to them should be lacking : they were all 
there ; they were all united ; they were all praying. 
If the faith of one failed there was a brother near 
to encourage him; the strong helped the weak; the 
enthusiastic animated the cold; the hopeful refreshed 
the desponding ; the best-informed gave all the light 
they had to the unread; and all of them drew life 
from the sympathy of numbers. As it was afterwards 
afiirmed that they threw all their temporal possessions 
into one fund, and had all things in common, so it may 
be said of their respective mental and spiritual advan- 
tages at this meeting, they were insensibly distributed ; 
they parted their faith, their zeal, and their knowledge 

* Acts i. 14 



to each other, as every man had need. On the morning 
of the tenth day the blessing came. 

' Thou who once didst shake the place 

Where praying saints were met, 
Spirit of faith and holiness, 

The miracle repeat ; 
Now exert thy power to heal, 
Thy waiting servants, Lord, inspire, 
Warm their hearts with heavenly zeal, 
And touch their lips with fire.' 


» ra » » » :rr » 

An Ordination Charge delivered in Trinity Chapel, Grove 
Street, Liverpool, July 28th, 1881, and published at the 
request of the Ministers ordained and of the Conference. 

MY dbae young Brethren, I never approached 
the performance of a public duty with a 
sharper feeling of responsibility than that which is now- 
affecting me as I commence this task, the closing and 
the most important work connected with my year of 
office, of charging you to be faithful to the trust which 
you have ventured this day to accept in the presence of 
God and in the audience of his people ; moved thereto 
(we doubt not) by the inspiration of the Holy Grhost. 
The scripture upon which I shall found the counsels 
and encouragements which I have undertaken to 
address to you is in the First Epistle of St. Paul to 
the Corinthians, chap. xvi. 13 : — 

* Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, he strong.'* 

I cannot imagine a more humiliating condition than 
that into which the Church at Corinth descended after 
a season of remarkable prosperity. The Church was 
afflicted by these four evils — intellectual scepticism, 
flagrant licentiousness, internal strife, and spiritual 
pride. A more formidable task than that of applying 
a remedy for these disorders never engaged the pru- 
dence and responsibility of a minister. Take the single 


evil of Corinthian scepticism. It was the growth of 
Greek philosophy and Greek art. It abhorred dogma, 
and did not choose to be careful to discriminate 
between the submission of reason and the contradiction 
of reason. It is probable that another evil which I 
have mentioned, the shocking license which had crept 
into the homes and into the solemn gatherings of the 
Church, was the offspring, or the near relative, of 
this sceptical temper — a temper altogether alien from 
the reverent and vigilant hesitation of philosophic 
doubt ; it was insolent and disdainful. I will venture 
also to claim affinity with it for the strife which 
rent in several pieces, the seamless vesture of Christ's 
unity ; and even the pride of gifts and spiritual power 
belonged to the same 'family of plagues' that had drained 
the vital force and were now threatening the existence 
of the Christian societies of Corinth. 

It would carry me too far away from the main 
subject of my address if I were to construct a parallel 
between the Christianity of Corinth when St. Paul wrote 
this epistle and the Christianity of England. But the 
resemblance is curious and striking, and this likeness 
affirms the present appropriateness of the text : ' Watch 
ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.' 
Each of these counsels as the apostle wrote them repre- 
sented in his mind a distinct condition of things to 
which he intended it to apply, and while he addressed 
them to the whole Church he had particular reference 
to Church officers and workers, those whom scepticism 
might embarrass, and worldliness seduce, and strife 
discourage, and pride destroy. It was to these he 
applied the sum and conclusion of his glorious resur- 
rection argument in the preceding chapter, ' Therefore, 
my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, 
always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch 


as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.' 
But while the counsels of the text derive weight from 
their specific character, each of them being inspired by 
some want or necessity of the Church, the relation of 
the writer to that Church invests them with oracular 
authority. Paul planted Christianity in Corinth. He 
had made a careful study of the soil. He found it rich 
in productive virtue, capable of growing good and evil 
in equal luxuriance. He had surveyed every district, 
and explored beneath the surface until he touched the 
lowest stratum. He planted the faith in well-selected 
ground : Apollos watered it ; and God gave the increase. 
No one could know so well as he how a work that had 
thriven under his own eye and hand should be fostered. 
He was forbidden by his own modesty to say as much, 
but the readers of this epistle could say it for him, that 
the conduct he sought to inspire was supported by his 
own example ; for watchfulness, steadfastness, manli- 
ness, and power were the notable features of Paul's 
ministry in Corinth ; and they must be the features of 
your ministry, dear brethren. The state of modern 
society, the phases of current literature, the audacious 
temper of philosophic speculation, the enticements that 
waylay consecration diligence and faithfulness, and 
the numberless unobserved influences, scarcely known 
to consciousness, that concur to make a man's work 
worthless and his life a failure — these circumstances, as 
they furnish parallels to the conditions which evoked 
the counsels of the text, can only be met by the accept- 
ance and fulfilment of these counsels : ' Watch ye, stand 
fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.' Your 
ministry must be distinguished by watchfulness, stead- 
fastness, manliness, and power. 

The language is military. Paul had never seen 
an engagement, but he was familiar with barrack 


life, and one can imagine that there were aspects of 
that life that charmed him; its simple and absolute 
devotion, its discipline, its esprit de corps, the two 
elements of its Inight, unity and obedience, and the 
heroic qualities which were begotten of its dangers and 
its laurels. When he borrows a figure from the guard- 
room or the battle-field, the fidelity and spirit with 
which he uses it show that the allusion is not a mere 
grace of style ; it is a vital constituent of the thought. 
To him Christian life was a contest, and he transfers 
to Christian action the nomenclature of camps. We 
must bear this in mind throughout our exposition of 
the apostle's counsels, although we shall assume the 
liberty of employing or dismissing the military metaphor 
as the range of our address may determine. 

I. Your ministry must be marked by watchfulness. 

It means more than being awake. It is concen- 
trated attention in wakefulness. It springs from the 
conviction of danger, it is sustained by the responsibility 
of duty. It is one of those positions which are restricted 
to the individual himself. Watchfulness cannot be 
transferred : it cannot even be distributed. You cannot 
say with perfect accuracy we watch ; it must always be, 
I watch. If there be many watchmen, the security of 
the guard is not in the unity of the number, as it would 
be in repelling an assault, but in covering every position 
of possible surprise by individual and responsible vigi- 
lance. The watchman for the time being personifies 
the army to which he belongs. He commands because 
he protects every man and every weapon and arm of 
the service. His first and main qualification is a know- 
ledge and persuasion of the danger which has made 
him a watchman. The danger in your case is so mani- 
fold and so wide that it would be impossible to 

« Q UIT YO U LIKE MEN: 1 53 

condense the account of it within reasonable limits. 
Let me say that except the truth of God, which is 
God's throne, nothing in itself is safe. Safety dwells 
within adequate defence. Perhaps I may be able to 
include everything that is necessary or possible for the 
present occasion if I arrange my observations under 
two propositions : 

1. Your ministry is a ministry of rescue. 

2. Your ministry is a ministry of shelter and defence. 

1. Your ministry is a ministry of rescue, not of 

You are sent to announce a danger which until your 
message is delivered is unknown. You move about 
amongst men possessed of a revelation concerning 
them of which they are profoundly ignorant. They 
may have loose notions of religion ; but their ideas of 
the Supreme Being, of their relation to him, of a judg- 
ment-seat after death, and an eternal destiny answerable 
to their conduct before death, are not conscious truths ; 
they resemble in their practical effect the unreal images 
of a dream. They have no relation to living conduct. 
You are like the prophets of the Lord in the old time ; 
you carry within you the fate of individuals and of 
nations : ' He that believeth and is baptized shall be 
saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned ; ' and 
the people to whom you are sent are as unconscious of 
what is decreed concerning them as were the Sodomites 
of their fate, on the day that Lot entered into Zoar. 
You are entrusted with a revelation from heaven. 
Ignorant or heedless of that revelation men perish. It 
is your calling to declare it and to persuade men to 
believe it. The Holy Ghost has made you watchmen 
unto the house of Israel. Your minds have been raised 
above the level of surrounding thought and the absorb- 


ing occupations of man's lower life, and you stand upon 
the divine ground that overlooks man's history and 
God' s prophecy- You grasp the history as an argument 
of precedent, to support the announcement of prophecy 
The sword of the wicked's doom is in the immediate 
future, but on this side of it is the hope of the sinner's 
repentance ; from your elevation you are supposed to see 
both with equal clearness ; the degree of that clearness is 
the degree of your fitness to obtain part of this ministry. 
The hand of the Lord is strong upon you to-day ; he 
has called you to no easy task ; much of it, indeed, is 
not merely difficult but repugnant to flesh and blood. 
When this is the word you are charged to deliver from 
the Lord, wicked man, thou shalt surely die ; and to 
proclaim it in an age like ours, and to spare not; 
to encounter the sullen insensibility of the masses, 
and the polished hostility of the rich, the intelligent, 
and the refined, you may well be tempted, like Moses, 
to ask the Lord to place a burden like this upon stronger 
shoulders than yours, * Send, I pray thee, by the hand 
of him whom thou shouldest send ; ' * or, like Ezekiel, 
to pause in bitterness and heat of spirit before you 
accept the mission. And what gives to this work a 
character that may intimidate the boldest is the fact 
that the minister's own salvation is bound up with the 
minister's fidelity. ' When I say to the wicked, Thou 
shalt surely die ; and thou givest him not warning ; . . . 
the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity ; but his 
blood will I require at thine hand.' f He dies because 
iniquity is death ; the death is charged to thee because 
thou hadst the power to avert it. 

I beseech you to look with a fixed eye and a studious 
mind upon this aspect of a minister's calling, warning 

* Exod. iv. 13. f Ezek. iii. 18. 


the wicked. Your work will be shorn of power in its 
two great functions of awakening and persuading, if 
you fail to apprehend that you are prophets of doom as 
well as heralds of mercy. Like John the Baptist you 
must look up and you must look down. Above you is 
the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the 
world ; beneath you is the axe of God lying at the root 
of the barren, the cumbering life of wicked unbelief ; and 
you must convict the world of the sin of not believing 
the Lamb, and convince it of the wrath which is now 
still and harmless during a pause of forbearance, and of 
opportunity for the sinner to look at the pierced One, if 
haply he may mourn, and find pardon. What tremendous 
issues lie in that brief pause ! The preacher commands 
the issues, and not the sinner ; for how shall the sinner 
hear of them without a preacher ? You have the power 
of saving that soul from death, and of letting that soul 
die. 'Who is sufficient for these things?' Who is 
able so to handle the argument of life and death as to 
present it unobscured and in the terror of its signifi- 
cance to those upon whose choice the alternative chosen 
is decreed? Who can measure the responsibility of 
him into whose hands this portentous task is com- 
mitted ? May the Holy Ghost who has called you to 
undertake it communicate to you the sufficiency of his 
inspiration, and the authority of his command, ' Now, 
therefore, go : I will be with thy mouth,* and thou shalt 
declare what I shall say unto thee.' 

2. Your ministry is a ministry of shelter and defence. 
You watch over the souls you have rescued. You fold 
them within the ordinances of a Church, and they are 
your care until death shall discharge them from proba- 
tion and you from duty- It is hard to rescue a soul 

* Exod. iv. 12. 


from death ; it is harder to maintain the rescue. The 
message that awakens is the sound of a trumpet ; it 
demands in him who delivers it a quick sight of the 
situation, a keen 'sympathy, and a courage of heavenly 
fearlessness ; but the work of sheltering and defending 
those whom the watchman's blast has hurried into the 
stronghold of the Church is a ministry comprising an 
endless variety of functions. There is a new class of 
dangers to master ; dangers more subtle in their quality, 
and therefore more remote from ordinary apprehension 
than the obvious jeopardy of the unconverted. The 
perils besetting your flock are relative first to the 
organised defences of the fold ; and secondly to the 
spiritual condition of the flock itself; a condition not 
to be studied in the gross, but in the separate and 
characteristic features distinguishing the classes and 
even the individuals of the flock. The shelter of the 
Church is not the organisation of its institutions, but 
the pastoral oversight of its ministry. A minister may 
construct an elaborate plan of work, and fulfil every 
public engagement, and leave his Church shelterless. 
An eloquent sermon is no defence against the spirit of 
the world. A proclamation against blight affixed to your 
garden wall will not bar the approach of the pest and 
save your plants; you must cover what you would 
guard with a stronger and more minute defence than a 
network of words. The spirit of the world will not be 
afraid of your sermon against worldliness ; for if you 
do nothing more than declaim against it, that spirit 
will listen to you and will contribute its admiration to 
your popularity. But if you follow it into the homes 
of your people, if you strip from it the popular guise 
of culture, and show that it is the Belial which has no 
affinity whatever with the Christ, and if your people 
see that you yourselves wage against it a personal and 


uncompromising war, in the discipline of your pastorate, 
and in the ruling of your own households, you may 
cast out of the Church, and keep out, this arch-demon 
of spiritual mildew and death. 

But the worldly spirit is one only of a legion of 
enemies from which your ministry must shelter the 
flock of Christ. Fashionable unbelief is nearly as 
destructive as worldliness. It puts on the mask of 
honest doubt, with which it has no more connection 
than has worldliness with Christian freedom. It insinu- 
ates itself into the current talk of the day ; it pervades 
the literature of taste and tinctures the learning of 
schools. It, moreover, finds sympathy in the natural 
depravity of the heart. Its ravages are not seen in 
open apostasy from the truth or in scandalous defections 
of the Church, but in the decline of the sentiment of 
reverence; it depresses the veneration of religion. It 
scatters from the Bible the halo of the supernatural, 
and introduces into the interpretation of the sacred 
books a proud intellectualism which brings to its task 
the canons of a purely secular judgment, and disdains 
the help of prayer. But if there be little veneration 
for the Bible, and a looseness of impression on the 
subject of prayer, there will be a fading away of intel- 
ligent reverence for the sanctuary, and the declension 
of the feeling will spread into our homes. This 
hard realism which venerates nothing is even now 
apparent in many a Christian family, blighting the filial 
deference of children and violating the flower of filial 
obedience, hardening the sentiment into mere compact. 
You may settle this in your minds, that where there is 
no veneration for the Bible, and no reverence in the 
sanctuary, there will be no homage in the home. Against 
evils like these you can only provide adequate shelter 
by a personal watch of unsleeping vigilance. 


Eecollect, dear brethren, that the most exposed of 
your flock are those who cannot be made conscious of 
their danger — the little ones of the fold. Alike inno- 
cent of guile and suspicion, they cannot be safe outside 
the range of your sight. Oh look after these children 
in their families, in their schools, in their Church classes ! 
Guard them from pernicious books; restrain them 
from unhallowed amusements ; allow no child to pause 
between the Church and the world ; show no mercy 
to the temper of indecision. Let me exhibit for 
your imitation the over- seeing and all-including sym- 
pathy of our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the 
sheep : 6 1 will feed my flock, and I will cause them 
to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which 
was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, 
and will bind up that which was broken, and will 
strengthen that which was sick.'* 

H. Your ministry must be marked by steadfastness 
in the faith. Stand fast in the faith. This exhortation 
must be interpreted by the help of the first verse of the 
preceding chapter : e Moreover, brethren, I declare 
unto you the Gospel, . . wherein ye stand ; ' and the 
apostle proceeds to place in their order the truths 
which comprise the Gospel and the cardinal fact upon 
which they rest. The argument of the resurrection, 
which is the glory of this epistle, was addressed to the 
sceptical spirit of the Corinthian Church. That spirit 
expressed itself in the question, 'How are the dead 
raised up ? and with what body do they come ? ' This 
is the popular mode of exclaiming against dogma. Its 
tone does not indicate the earnest inquiry of a child 
spirit; but the demand of an impatient and carping 

* Ezek. xxxiv. 15, 16. 


unbelief. The apostle's manner of replying to this 
temper must be copied by every minister who sets 
himself to encounter the rationalism of the modern 
Church. The unbelief of Corinth did not affect to 
stumble at the resurrection of Christ; it seemed to 
the popular imagination that this occurrence was not 
so remote from probability as the miracle of a general 
resurrection. Looking at the two events from a 
philosophical or scientific ground they are equally 
improbable. If the resurrection of Christ be granted 
everything pertaining to a general resurrection is 
granted. If a general resurrection be denied, the 
single example of Christ's rising from the dead must 
be repudiated with it. It is probable that the sceptical 
spirits of the Corinthian Church did not see what was 
involved in the exclusion of the resurrection from their 
creed. It had not occurred to them that in denying 
the resurrection of the dead they were maintaining 
that Christ himself was dead ; that he lay in his tomb 
with the infamy of an impostor ; and that the Church 
of which they were members, and in which they were 
proud to display their gifts and assert their power, 
instead of being a structure built upon the rock of 
truth, was a temporary fabrication resting upon a lie. 

This heedless criticism is characteristic of what I 
may call Church unbelief. It is more destructive than 
avowed infidelity ; and, permit me to add, it is by far 
the gravest symptom of the condition of the modern 
Church. Let me, then, advise you to study and imitate 
the method of St. Paul in dealing with the theoretic 
unbelief of believers. If in any case of intellectual 
conflict you discover that a particular dogma is a 
stumbling-block to faith you must make it clear that 
to give up that dogma is to surrender all revelation. 
There are some minds that cannot heartily subscribe 


to the equal deity of Christ, but find no difficulty what- 
ever in accepting the future punishment of the wicked. 
And if you once admit the right to try a dogma by the 
test of its likelilfood your New Testament is written 
on the sand. If you disturb the position that a 
revelation from heaven cannot be subjected to the 
criticism of reason, you make a man's temperament the 
condition of his faith, and every one believes what he 
can. I have sooken of the heedlessness of Church 
unbelief and of Paul's method of refuting it by pushing 
it to its consequences ; but he made his defence against 
this popular and unscholarly doubting complete by 
opposing to it the example of his own steadfastness. 
Perhaps the greatest human factor in the maintenance 
of creed-faith is sympathy. The people composing 
your congregations are not thinkers; even the most 
intelligent of them have not, as a rule, reasoned out the 
basis of their belief. In many cases the faith that 
comes to them by the revelation of the Holy Spirit 
precedes the instructed belief of dogma, and afterwards 
becomes its life; they both grow together until the 
Christian disciple is ' stablished, strengthened, settled.' 
In most instances the heavenly faith has not much 
human knowledge to support it : the mind grasps the 
person of Christ, and strengthens its hold by prayer, 
and by certain portions of the Word of God, not very 
extensive in their range, but of infinite preciousness 
and never-failing efficacy- And of those who have not 
fully believed unto eternal life, who represent various 
degrees of illumination, there are few whose intelligence 
and Christian training may be expected to shield them 
from popular Church unbelief. These are the classes 
that comprise the mass of your congregations and 
societies, and you will see at once how largely sympathy 
determines the character of faith. You are the defend- 


ers of the Gospel; and the strength of your defence 
will be in proportion to the fastness of your own belief. 
You have the power of confirming or shaking the 
confidence of multitudes. You never preach a sermon 
where there will not be a listener whose hold of the truth 
will be supported or loosened by what he hears. And 
either result will depend not upon the force or weak- 
ness of your arguments, but upon the sympathy of 
your spirit. If that sympathy affect doubt it will 
generate doubt ; if it indicate steadfastness in the faith 
it will reassure the misgiving and gladden and edify 
the believer. If you have a mind that cannot rest 
until it descends to the foundations of things, I beseech 
you to make your descent in the study ; for if the pulpit 
become the theatre of your downward explorations, 
and you invite unpractised minds to follow you, you 
may enjoy an excursion, but some of them may find a 
grave. I maintain that it is strictly unjust for any 
preacher to exhibit his sceptical difficulties to a miscel- 
laneous congregation ; and for this reason, the exhibi- 
tion must be imperfect : however able he may be, and 
whatever the length of his sermon, he can only set 
forth part of the case, and most of the congregation 
will never hear the rest. Need I remind you of exam- 
ples that stand out to-day where the preacher, instead 
of leaving his theological speculations at home, has put 
them into his sermons, and where the sympathy of 
doubt has acted and reacted upon minister and hearers 
until they have drifted together into unitarianism, and 
may end, for aught I know, in atheism ? 

Lest I should be misunderstood, let me add that I 
do not discourage the spirit of investigation, nor would 
I forbid or dread or disparage sceptical sympathies ; 
they are the antennce, or feelers, of the mind ; they make 
us suspect imposture and lead us to examine what we 



touch, and we cannot do the truth a better service than 
sift it and discuss it. The most redoubtable apologists 
are bred in habits of analysis and research. But by 
whatever processes the apologist has been schooled, 
his vocation supposes a mind made up ; and the autho- 
rity and worth of his arguments will depend upon the 
confidence of his convictions. This vital law of 
defence is of universal application, but no class of 
advocacy does it more essentially concern than preach- 
ing the Gospel. It should absolutely govern the public 
utterance of every minister of Christ. On the other 
hand, I do not ask you to assume in the presence of 
your people an assurance you do not feel. This 
would bring mischief into your own spirit. It would 
hurt the fyloom of that sensitive honesty between con- 
science and work which is the secret of a minister's 
force. Whatever impairs conscious sincerity is apt to 
reduce a man's eloquence to the clanging of a cymbal. 
May God save our pulpits from instrumental music ! 

You might well meet me at this point with St. 
Paul's demand, 'Who is sufficient for these things?' 
* never to hesitate in the declarations of a sermon ; 
never to assume an assurance he does not feel ! ' St. 
Paul shall answer his own demand : ' Our sufficiency is 
of God, who also hath made us able ministers of the New 
Testament.'* The key of this problem is concealed in 
another Pauline passage : ' Wo man can say (can preach) 
that Jesus is the Jehovah, but by the Holy Ghost.' f 
You must distinguish between what is divine in your 
work and what is merely human. If you are truly 
called to preach ' the Christ, the Son of the living God,' 
the knowledge of him was not acquired by you, but 
revealed to you. The revelation came to you from the 

* 2 Cor. iii. 5, 6. f 1 Cor. xii. 3. 


Father ; an inward voice moved you to proclaim it ; 
that voice, attested by proofs and signs which the 
Church is qualified and appointed to interpret, is the 
divine warrant of your ordination to-day; it is not a 
temporary impression upon your spirit awakened once 
for all ; it is the call of the Holy Ghost, who, having 
first imparted to you the faith by which you accepted 
Jesus as the Lord, and then anointed you to be the 
preachers of this doctrine, now dwells within you to 
sustain its demonstration. There is no other means 
by which the demonstration of the truth can be 
sustained. It cannot be sustained by a familiarity 
with its formulas ; it cannot be sustained by the habit 
of preaching it ; for I have known a man to lose his 
faith and go on preaching his sermons. The Spirit 
must abide in you as the living proof of the truth, as 
a well of inspiration to freshen your convictions day 
by day, and to diffuse through all your faculties and 
heavenly gifts the vigour and the spring of perfect 
spiritual health. Cherish a reverent intimacy with the 
ever-blessed Person of whom Christ said, ' He shall 
take of mine and shall show it unto you,' shall be 
continually showing it unto you. This ever-renewed 
revelation of the faith shall insure for your ministry 
steadfastness in the faith. 

Let this one fact never be forgotten by you : the 
apostles were not equally strong in all respects ; their 
conduct was sometimes marked by feebleness, by vacil- 
lation, and by hastiness of spirit ; they were men, and 
compassed with infirmity ; but concerning the cardinal 
facts of their Gospel we can find no trace of doubt 
either in their acts, in their counsels, or in their writ- 
ings ; and, what is more remarkable, there is no trace of 
obscurity, judging from the sharp definiteness of the 
language in which they affirm their doctrines, and the 

m 2 


unsuspecting frankness and unblemished consistency of 
their personal disclosures. May God help you to be 
their imitators, and to justify the hope of the Church 
that in this respect (we are not anxious to make good 
any other) you are members of the apostolical suc- 

III. Your ministry must be marked by manliness 
and power. Quit you like men : be strong. 

We have said that the military thought governs the 
style of these exhortations. That which distinguishes 
military service from every other secular profession is 
devotion. This was more conspicuous in the soldier's 
life as St. Paul saw it than as we find it in modern 
armies. It may be useful here to collect those passages 
in St. Paul's epistles in which military allusions are 
employed to illustrate and enforce ministerial duty. 
' This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, that 
. . fc . thou mightest war a good warfare.' * ' Endure 
hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. "No man 
that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this 
life ; that he may please him who hath chosen him to 
be a soldier.' f This last couosel expresses with exact 
and forcible precision that feature of your ministry 
which under the designation of manliness I desire to 
describe and commend, and I shall, therefore, take the 
liberty of repeating it in the more accurate form of the 
revised version. ' Suffer hardship with me as a good 
soldier of Jesus Christ. No soldier on service entangleth 
himself in the affairs of this life ; that he may please 
him who enrolled him as a soldier.' Timothy must 
consent to suffer hardship because the nature of Christ's 
service imposes it ; to object to its sufferings would be 

* 1 Tim. i. 18. t 2 Tim. ii, 3, 4. 


an attempt to make terms with the service ; and this 
would violate the main principle upon which such a 
service could be undertaken — the principle of unqualified 
renunciation of self. The analogy by which St. Paul 
explains his meaning is taken from a soldier on service. 
For a minister of the Gospel to bargain with the service of 
his Lord that he shall not work over a given pressure, 
that he shall not be exposed to particular reverses, that 
he shall be exempt from a certain class of duties to be 
discounted by himself, is about as reasonable and honour- 
able a compact as a recruit entering the army with the 
distinct understanding that he shall never be marched to 
meet an enemy unless it can be arranged that he shall 
never be killed. The life of the soldier during service is 
offered to the state ;• it is not only given in its entirety, 
but all its energies, the intellect, the will, the passion of 
the man, are supposed to be unembarrassed by any rival 
claim, by any interest or affection which at the supreme 
moment may unbrace his resolution and disable his arm. 
For a soldier to quit himself like a man is to regard 
nothing, to know nothing, but his duty to the service. 
To perform heroic deeds and to be applauded for them 
may or may not be the fortune of his career. A con- 
tingent distinction affects not in any degree either the 
quality or the deed of his life. He is not enrolled to per- 
form a brilliant feat of arms ; the higher daring of his spirit 
is seen in his readiness to accept with equal cheerfulness 
whatever the exigences of the service may bring ; while 
for opportunities of active valour he has an adequate 
reserve of passion, of strength, and of enthusiasm. 
A devotion of this temper is sublime in its manliness. 

Such is the analogy by which St. Paul illustrates 
the Christian ministry ; and the deviation in the paral- 
lelism of the two services is this, that the features 
which characterise the one are infinitely exalted in the 


other. In your profession the consecration is not to 
the service considered in itself, but to the person of 
your Prince, whose kingdom you are recovering from 
his enemies, of whose realm you are not so much 
subjects as confederates. You are not mercenary 
followers to be engaged and dismissed, but joint heirs 
of the possessions to be reclaimed and of the glory of 
conquest. In addition to the ordinary motives of manli- 
ness in a soldier's career, you have the intelligence, the 
responsibility, and the aims of leaders under the great 
Captain of your salvation. Where you happen to be 
engaged, your conduct will sway the aspects of the 
conflict. There will be in those who follow you con- 
tempt of danger or dismay, fortitude or effeminacy, 
standing or fleeing, according to the character of your 
personal example. Therefore quit you like men and 
you will lead men. How easy for me to enforce this 
duty ! how hard for the most resolute of us to follow 
it ! * It consists in having self absorbed in the service. 
' I live, yet not /.' Herein is the difficulty : unselfish- 
ness is supposed to be the genius of our service ; and 
yet in the execution and fulfilment of it there is an 
intenser self-consciousness than any other profession 
or work is able to evoke. We are always before the 
public ; the nature of some among us shrinks from the 
gaze of the crowd ; and such men if they dared, if 
they heeded the remonstrances of flesh and blood, 
would never preach another sermon. But necessity 
is laid upon them ; yea, woe unto them if they preach 
not the Gospel. Others catch inspiration from a throng. 
Public life is the element in which their faculties thrive 
and in which they are seen at their best. They covet 
the sway of a commanding utterance, or the triumph of a 
successful administration. But the snares which beset 
either temperament are laid in the same ambush, and the 


struggle is in the endeavour to be unconscious of the 
self in the service ; to raise the ' I live ' into the ' yet 
not I.' 

Where the struggle has been continued for many 
years, and there has been no final conquest on either 
side, sometimes the self yielding to the service and 
lost in it, and sometimes the service overpowered and 
mastered by the self, it generally happens that the self, 
instead of growing weaker by exhaustion, is strengthened 
by the ever-recurring associations upon which it lives ; 
and the contest is fought out to the bitter end. A 
minister at the close of his career, when fading powers 
narrow and yet narrow the large sphere of his work, 
until what occupied so great a space in the public eye 
Las dwindled to a spot unnoticed, and then forgotten, 
may find himself confronted by his old adversary when 
there seems nothing left for that adversary to contend 
with. He is compelled to watch against a vanity which 
age has made sullen and contemptible ; against a self- 
seeking which obscurity has made impertinent. This 
last fight may be unknown and unsuspected even by 
intimate associates ; but the privacy of the struggle 
increases its fierceness and distress. Thank God the 
issue is never doubtful ; the * I live ' submits at last 
and for ever to the ' Christ that liveth. in me.' What- 
ever temperament you represent, whether the timid or 
the bold, you have discovered by this time that you 
cannot escape the fight between the self and the service. 
Let me beseech you to take a new position against the 
self from this day. Confront it like men, with a serious 
and a well-considered resolution that you will not parley 
with it ; that you will allow it no place in the motives 
and provisions of work ; that it shall this day be bound 
with cords, even unto the horns of the altar ; that, cost 
you what it may, the abatement of public favour, the 


surrender of friends, the restriction of means, nay, the 
abridgment of life itself, it shall go, and Christ and his 
service shall be all in all ! 

Many of us older men would rejoice to push back 
through the stream of years to the point of time at 
which you stand, and stand with you, that we may 
have the glorious opportunity of giving another life to 
this work with a far loftier standard of personal devo- 
tion. This is the want of the ministry to-day, and 
pre-eminently of the Methodist ministry. The peculiar 
economy under which this ministry is called, its pastoral 
relations to the Churches over which it presides, involv- 
ing with duties that never change a personnel that is 
always changing, demands that enthusiastic and self- 
forgetting devotement shall be the supreme qualification 
of the pastors. You will not suspect me of disparaging 
the rank of intellectual qualifications ; of biblical erudi- 
tion in the man who is called to defend the Bible ; of 
the arts of proclamation in him whose special vocation 
is preaching the Gospel; but I dare to affirm that at 
the present time neither learning nor oratory is the 
capital need of the ministry ; and in submitting this 
statement I do not forget that the intellectual spirit of 
the age is hostile to your credentials, and with charac- 
teristic unfairness and irrelevant disdain charges you 
and your profession with obstructing the education of 
the race by the block of an old creed which it should 
be the aim of all honest intellectualists to lift out of 
the people's path. The fame of Christianity as the 
mother of schools and the nurse of science is too well 
established to make it worth while just now to meet 
this charge. If the contest in which you are engaged 
were a battle between learning and learning, between 
two schools of science, between two parties contending 
for literary ascendency, you would strive to be more 


learned, more exact, and more able than your opponents, 
and you would gain or lose the victory of intellectual 
authority. But the war to which you have been marched 
is between Christ and the world, and this is the victory 
which overcometh the ivorld, even your faith in Him. 
You have to conquer the insensibility of the masses, to 
disarm their aversion to holiness, to make them con- 
scious of another building beyond the world upon which 
they dwell, even a house not made with hands, eternal 
in the heavens ; you have to bring into their blind, 
gross, muddy natures a heavenly mind : and this work 
is not to be done by the consecration of any gift or 
acquirement which you may possess ; it is only to be 
hoped for by bringing to it the unqualified devotion of 
the person of every man among us ; it is to be achieved 
by the supreme enthusiasm of love to the world-loving 
Redeemer : by such a fellow-feeling with Him in regard 
to the natural condition of the souls of men, to the 
infinite worth of those souls and the glorious, possi- 
bilities of their powers, and to the sacrifice even unto 
death itself which divine love is prompted to offer for 
them, as will make you so many Christs in the world ; 
one with Him in the baptism of an all-immersiug service, 
one in the cup of whatever sufferings it may please the 
Father to bring to your lips ; and one in that strange 
overlooking of human distinctions and that stranger 
reverence for human nature manifested conspicuously 
when he found it oppressed and unhappy and forsaken. 
brethren ! when for you to live in this world is for 
Christ to live in it, when your speech and your mind 
and your ways answer to His speech and mind and 
ways, grace for grace, the mirrored lineaments of his 
image, the masses that are scattered abroad like lost 
sheep will detect in your ministry the shepherd- voice 
of allurement and authority, and they will troop after 


you, as they trooped after Him,l* crowding the inclosures 
of pen and of fold, and compelling you to push out your 
fences, and fill up with pasture the gaunt spaces that 
now yawn between Church and Church, until these 
shall touch and merge, and there shall be one flock and 
one Shepherd. 

And now, brethren, in the name of the Conference 
and of the Methodist people, I welcome you into the 
matured rank of the ministry. Next to the consola- 
tions of God, your induction to-day is the solace of our 
Churches for the unexampled bereavements of the year. 
I call upon you to fill the places of the departed ; this 
in all ages has been the office and distinction of 
young men. They have been supposed by the Muses to 
take their inspiration from the tomb, to be fired in their 
ambition by the deeds and fame of the dead ; and Religion 
herself, while possessing sublimer sources of impulse, 
has not disowned the emulation of excellence. A scroll 
of nobler names was never displayed to the eye and 
spirit of ambition than that which Methodism has this 
year unrolled before the sons of her prophets. I ask 
you not to imitate their eloquence, to grasp the wreath 
of their popularity, but to reproduce, and if possible 
surpass, their toil, their sanctity, their fidelity to duty, 
and their loyalty to Jesus, that you may inherit the 
unfading crown of their reward. 

* Mark vi. 33. 




If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, 
if I tell you of heavenly things ? And no man hath ascended up 
to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of 
man which is in heaven.' — John iii. 12, 13. 

C HEIST hath declared unto us earthly things and 
heavenly things. When he speaks to us of 
earthly things we can judge for ourselves whether they 
are true or not ; when he teaches us heavenly things 
we have no means, apart from himself, of proving the 
accuracy of his revelations. If he professes to be the 
instructor of our earthly life, let us see how far He has 
made that profession good. If in this respect we find 
— for we are the only judges — that his teaching is 
the most perfect we know ; if in the earthly things he 
has told us we can detect neither weakness nor error, 
he may fairly challenge us to accompany him into 
regions where our own judgment deserts us, and we 
have neither authority nor guide but himself. 

Let us consider Christ's position as a teacher of 
earthly things. By earthly things I shall understand 
those truths which appertain to the moral government 
of the world — truths which teach men how to live 
upon the earth ; how a man should live in respect of 


himself and in regard to his neighbours. In this dis- 
cussion we have nothing whatever to do with forms of 
civil government, or with customs and social habits 
that are born of climate, or, introduced by accident, 
have developed into usage, and have merely a local 
importance. We restrict our consideration to those 
cardinal principles which, as men of all parties and of 
all nations acknowledge, ought to be the common pro- 
perty of mankind. It is agreed by the accepted author- 
ities of every civilised and semi-civilised nation that 
truth should reign in all our transactions ; that benevo- 
lence should pervade our fellowships ; that the natural 
course of human nature is not that of improvement, 
but degeneracy ; that it can only ascend by instruction 
and restraints; that society, under whatever form 
organised, should shield the life and property of the 
individual, punish the wrong- doer, and make its tri- 
bunals and asylums a refuge for the helpless and for- 
saken*; that righteousness, or the practice of right, is 
the highest state to which a nation can educate itself. 
These are earthly things; and they are defined with 
more or less clearness, and accepted with more or less 
respect and obedience, in proportion to the advance- 
ment of our race. There are other earthly things, and 
pre-eminent among those we have omitted is the pur- 
suit of knowledge. This, apart from anything else and 
for its own sake, is equally beneficial and noble, but its 
most ardent followers will admit that the highest fruit 
of science is virtue. We may therefore lay it down as 
a maxim of universal acknowledgment that the great 
business of the world is to make itself just and pure 
and humane. It is for this reason that we place those 
first in the ranks of fame whose wisdom and teach- 
ing have done most to raise the conduct of men to 
a higher righteousness. 


Now as a teacher of earthly things it would be 
much to sav that Jesus Christ stands first, the first of 
all teachers in all ages ; but this does not represent his 
position. He stands alone, even in the judgment of 
those who do not follow him. It is nearly 2000 
years ago since he was born in an obscure country, 
in the lowliest grade of that country's population, 
a poor child of a poor mother, and grew up against 
every circumstance likely to depress culture and 
retard advancement. His public career comprised 
three short years, and he died long before the attain- 
ment of middle life ; he was a youth, and nothing 
more. He never wrote a book, or a sentence which 
has come down to us; but he opened his lips and 
spake, and men wrote down what he said; and 
his sayings respecting earthly things rule the world 
this day ! The governing thought of mankind pro- 
fesses to be the disciple of Jesus Christ. All the 
great nations of the earth are called after his name; 
whether they truly reflect his teaching or not, they 
designate themselves Christian. We may call this pre- 
eminence Christ's reign over earthly things, and the 
confession and adoption of this reign are extending 
every year with a rapidity to which no former age 
furnishes a parallel. It is only within the last few 
years that the name of Christ as the chief teacher of 
earthly things has opened the heart of Asia. Far 
beyond the border of missionary triumphs he is hailed 
as the great teacher of the earthly life. His name 
comes from the west with all the prestige of its civil- 
isation ; his earthly lessons follow, enunciated in prin- 
ciples, embodied in institutions, and illustrated by 
results that startle even the heavy equanimity of the 
East. Brethren, we are not now speaking of heavenly 
things, but declaring a plain earthly fact, of which 


every man can assure himself: and it is almost as 
easv to account for the fact as to ascertain it. 

There were three qualities in Christ's teaching never 
found at first and together in the instructions of any- 
other teacher that ever appeared in the world ; these 
qualities are authority, accuracy, and completeness. 
The authority of other teachers is that of experience : 
they acquire knowledge a little at a time, and by slow 
processes of trial; they teach with caution, as if they 
themselves were learners a little in advance of other 
learners ; even in the best of the world's instructors, 
more frequently in the best than in the inferior 
ones, there is a modest faltering or hesitation of the 
judgment in the delivery of their lessons. I refer to 
the original teachers of men, the founders of wisdom. 
Fluency and confidence belong rather to the disciple 
who teaches second hand than to the Master who 
originates the teaching. But Christ never felt his way 
to the^ truth ; his human mind grew into maturity, and 
acquired the progressive knowledge inseparable from 
growth ; but his doctrines were not the accumulations 
of experience : ( My doctrine is not mine, but his that 
sent me ;'* this was said in answer to certain Jews who 
marvelled at his acquirements : ' How knoweth this 
man letters, having never learned ? ' And on another 
occasion we hear him saying, C I have not spoken of 
myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a 
commandment, what I should say, and what I should 
speak. 'f In none of his declarations does he betray a 
symptom of misgiving. The tone at least of every 
utterance is the ( Verily, verily, I say unto you ;' and 
again, £ I am the truth.' J On every subject upon which 

* John vii. 16. f John xii; 49- J John xiv. 6. 


he opens his lips he assumes the authority of complete 

As for his accuracy, confining myself at present to 
earthly things, things of which all men may be in a posi- 
tion to judge, if he had made a mistake we should have 
heard of it : no teacher has had so many critics ; no 
teacher has been criticised so long. The principles, 
lessons, and counsels of no other teacher have survived 
the test of so careful and universal an inspection. 
Every word of his recorded discourses and sayings has 
been placed under the lens of a critical analysis of ever- 
increasing power, and oftentimes by intensely anti- 
christian students ; but in his teaching of earthly 
things they never detect an error. He dwelt in an 
obscure corner of the earth, and among the narrowest 
and most bigoted people; yet he legislated for the 
world and for all time with the simple mastery of a 
father laying down rules for the government of his 
children. I have never heard of an antichristian sect 
formed to dispute the truth of Christ's teaching of 
earthly things. The enemies of his heavenly things 
are legion; but they are commonly the eulogists and 
professed followers of his earthly lessons. They dis- 
pute his divinity, they adore his morality ; they doubt 
his miracles, they appeal to his wisdom. They affirm 
that he was no more than man, and yet in their laws, 
judgments, and institutions they testify that he is 
above man; for they say, in effect, that there is no 
other name given among men whereby ive must be guided 
upon the earth. 

This testimony impresses upon us the completeness 
of his teaching. What rule of conduct, either for a 
man, a family, or a nation, did he omit ? The basis of 
earthly morality is the worship of God. We call this 
one of the earthly things because all the great teachers 


of every age and faith have inculcated reverence to 
some power above us. Christ proclaimed to an 
idolatrous world, ' God is a spirit ; and they that 
worship him must worship him in spirit and in 
truth.'* Have we advanced upon this? The world 
never heard it before he spake it. Has philosophy 
done more than adrnire it as the sublimest truth ever 
delivered to man ? And the intelligence and sincerity 
which he affirmed must underlie our religion he 
makes the basis of human intercourse, When he 
appeared there was everywhere such an appalling 
absence of truth, purity^ and gentleness that his 
teaching, it might be almost said, originated them : 
and no man will deny that what the world possesses of 
these virtues to-day is the product of Christian doc- 
trine. In resting the fulfilment of all law upon love, 
he opened a treasure of wisdom and knowledge 
never suspected before. He sent the law from the out- 
side tablet into the heart ; and insisted upon obedience 
beginning there, because transgression begins there; 
and by making love the motive of moral action, he not 
only provided for conduct the safest and most steadfast 
guarantee, but he linked all races together in the fellow- 
ship of one brotherhood. Have we gone beyond this ? 
Have we attained unto it ? Are not the hopes of thought- 
ful men, in all parts of the world where men do think, 
committed to the very principles of Christ's early teach- 
ing on the subject of human intercourse; that that 
intercourse should be open, equitable, loving, and world- 
binding? And if you go from Christ's authoritative 
announcement of the principles by which our earthly 
life should be governed into the apostolic exposition of 
them, you will find every desirable earthly state spring- 

* John iv. 24. 


ing from them ; whatsoever things are true, whatsoever 
things are honest, ' whatsoever things are just, whatso- 
ever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, what- 
soever things are of good report,' * and if there be 
anything else not included in these, you will find them 
all growing up and flourishing within the range of New 
Testament teaching and New Testament examples. 

But when we have spoken of the authority, the 
^accuracy, and the completeness of Christ's earthly 
teaching as taking him out of the category of wise 
leaders and instructors, and placing him absolutely 
alone, what shall we say of his earthly life ? This is as 
far removed from human experience as his teaching 
surpasses human wisdom. Restricting our observation 
to the merely human aspects, the earthly things of that 
life, where bis conduct is intelligible, if we can affirm 
that he lived up to the standard of his teaching, there 
is no other teacher of whom this can be said. But 
it would not be correct to describe him as living up to 
a standard. He seemed ever to come down from a 
higher altitude than the standard of his teaching. He 
moved about in a spirit of unapproachable purity; a 
purity he never reached by a moral development ; for 
he was so closely watched, and in his external associa- 
tions so thoroughly known, that if he had been more 
holy at one period of his life than at another we should 
have heard of it. There have been pure men in the 
world ; men upon the disc of whose character it is 
hardly possible to find a blemish : but when we bring 
the fairest life and place it next to his, we feel that it 
ought not to be so placed, that you cannot look at them 
together with the remotest conditions of comparison. 
Let him who demurs to this statement make the trial. 

* Phil. iv. 8. 



And when you pass from the negative grace of inno- 
cence into the positive features of spirit and action, you 
see him, not like a cloistered sage cultivating subjective 
piety in the easy" untempted leisure of seclusion, but 
enveloped in trial, in the thickest of the fight of 
life, doing battle with common enemies that you and 
I have to do battle with, and engaging with adverse 
influences and combinations that never confronted any 
career but his : whatever can try a man's principles, 
a man's spirit, a man's love, a man's faith in man, 
a man's faith in his cause, a man's courage, was per- 
mitted in forms of unexampled intensity to assail the 
blessed Christ. And he never swerved a hairsbreadth 
from the line he had marked out for himself, — ' The 
Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to 
minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.'* 

Brethren, here is a faultless teaching of earthly 
things, which after eighteen hundred years of trial is 
still ihe dominant teaching of the world ; which is yet 
before us and above us as a standard to which the 
world confesses it must ever aspire ; here are lessons 
that have not been improved and added to by experience, 
but were delivered once for all, and remain unchanged ; 
principles of conduct as universal in their necessity as 
the atmosphere that sustains the life of the earth ; for 
which not only savages are putting away their fetish, but 
the ancient races of the Asiatic continent are forsaking 
their philosophies, and which, apart. from the religious 
sentiment, they are adopting as their best earthly guide ; 
andj secondly, here is a life confessed by all who have 
looked at it to be the faultless life of all lives ; living out 
and transcending the teaching that came from it ; a life 
which no one ever thinks of comparing with any other 

* Mark x. 45. 


life ; the purest, and yet the most tried ; the most 
beneficent, and yet the shortest in active service ; the 
most suffering, and yet the most steadfast ; the most 
severely and virulently criticised, and yet the most 
widely accepted for the efhcacy of its example : and 
this teacher of the perfect earthly doctrine, and the 
perfect earthly life, both of which are universally 
acknowledged to stand absolutely alone, and to be the 
spring of whatever moral truth and goodness the 
world possesses — I say this teacher passes through the 
material world, to the end of which he has led us, into a 
world and a life of dense mystery, and bids us follow 
him there ! He tells us of beings this earth never saw, 
of states of existence surpassing in wonder the most 
fantastic exaggerations of romance ; he describes him- 
self, his antecedents, his present position, and his 
future, in terms which, while standing before us as a 
human being in a particular period of time, exalt him 
above time, above its operations and its history, making 
him the projector of the ages and the fountain and 
continual providence of all being. 

Reason, which has been following him with grateful 
pliancy up to the brink of such a mystery, may 
naturally stagger and become irresolute before it 
follows him further : but, having recovered from the 
hesitations of its first surprise, it is bound to follow 
him further, unless it would stultify its preceding alle- 
giance. If it be replied, We follow him as long as we 
understand him, is not such an answer flippant rather 
than earnest ? If you knew not how to live upon the 
earth until he taught you, you were ignorant of the 
earth and your relations to it ; in other words, earthly 
life was a mystery to you. I grant that you were 
able to verify his earthly teaching when you heard it ; 
but have you nothing that answers to the heavenly 

N 2 


things he teaches ? No intimations within of the 
immortality which he brings to light? No witness to 
the sin which he exposes as the radical disease of our 
race ? No yearning for a deliverance which he declares 
to foe impossible except through him ? No irrepres- 
sible ejaculations of distress to some Power round 
about and within humanity, and yet above us all, 
whom Christ proclaims as our Father in heaven ? These 
facts of consciousness, by the confession of every 
school of thinkers, make us a mystery to ourselves ; 
and mystery is the ground of your rejection of Christ's 
heavenly things ! 

But the inconsistency, the unreasonableness, of this 
rejection becomes flagrant when it is seen that the 
earthly things which you accept spring from the 
heavenly things which you deny. You may separate, 
we have done so for the sake of the argument, the 
earthly things from the heavenly ; with him, so far 
as they relate to man, they are the parts of one plan. 
Human life is one career stretching into the unseen, 
of which the history in this world is the preliminary 
chapter. You admire Christ's second law, ' Thou 
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself;' * you confess 
the justness, the beauty, of a doctrine which makes 
equal affection the basis upon which all the details of 
human fellowship are to be reared. Why then do you 
stumble at his first law, without which the second has 
no root, and can have no growth ? f Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy 
mind, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength.'* 
That beautiful system of ethics which we described 
in the beginning of this discourse, which is the 
moral authority of the present day, blends in his 

* Mark xii. 29—31. 


sayings and life with the heavenly things which men 
hesitate to receive. The purity he inculcates, the 
meekness, humility, equity, patience, mutual forgive- 
ness, and laborious benevolence, duties that comprise 
the subjects of his teaching of the earthly things, 
are declared by him to be the fruits of the heavenly 
things. Therefore, when he takes you through the 
earthly life with a firmness and precision of guidance 
that never falters, never doubts, never errs; and 
affirms that the mystery which edges this life is but 
a veil which he was sent to draw aside, you are bound 
to go after him when he beckons you to follow him 
through that veil He has been true in everything 
else, unchallenged in everything else, you ought to 
presume that he is true in this also. You see no 
alteration in his manner when he delivers his heavenly 
things ; the most astounding testimonies regarding the 
unseen, revelations that leave all experience behind 
and hold all reason in suspense, come from his lips 
with the same easy and masterly familiarity with which 
he inculcates the simplest earthly lesson. He that says, 
Love your enemies, preaches repentance towards God 
and faith in him as the Father's gift; and adds: ' If 
ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.'* 

Why was he able, above all other earthly teachers, 
to take the unchallenged position accorded to him by 
the sanction of ages ? Because he alone knew what 
was in man. He had a perfect knowledge of the human 
soul ; of what the mind was in itself, and in every pos- 
sible combination in which it may be found. He gave 
laws for the mind two thousand years ago ; we have 
those laws to-day, and they are the stay of the moral 
world. If he could legislate for all time, is it not a 

* John viii. 24. 


presumption that lie could legislate for eternity ? He 
says that the mind that rejects him will be unhappy for 
ever; that cut off from him there can be hereafter 
no order, no progress, no joy. Is it consistent, is it 
rational, to treat these words lightly ? And let me 
remind you that there is no justification for their 
conduct who reject Christ's heavenly things on the 
plea that they have no knowledge, no consciousness of 
those heavenly things. When you hear the revela- 
tions which we preach from this Book, though you 
may have no personal ground to judge of the accuracy 
of their details, do they not look as if they were true ? 
When fairly you bring yourself face to face with them, 
have you not inward answerings to the truth of several 
of them ? When we preach to you a Saviour that came 
down from heaven; that he is a great Refuge in 
our midst; the bearer of our sins, the helper of our 
infirmities ; our guide and succour in a path of ever- 
increasing feebleness and uncertainty ; the tried friend 
of all who cleave to him, and most precious when most 
we need support : do you not feel that you want such 
a Deliverer and Friend ? You acknowledge that eternity 
is darkness to you ; and if, in sceptical moments, you 
suspect that that darkness is unsubstantial, is nothing, 
there are times of serious thought when failing health 
or failing hopes provoke an anxious foreboding lest that 
darkness should prove to be the projected shadow of 
another life. And dare you venture into that gloom 
without giving Christ a hearing respecting the heavenly 
things, when through all your life you have proved the 
accuracy of his earthly things ? When you have said, 
yea, yea, to all the perfect lessons of his wisdom, 
bowing before their authority, proving their exact truth, 
and acknowledging their completeness, will you say, 
nay, nay, when he commands you to repent of your 


sins, and flee from ' the wrath to come' ? You may object 
to the word sins, but do not quarrel with a word, you 
know what he means, wicked ways ; and you confess it 
would be an unspeakable gain if you could relinquish 
them : you may object to the expression, wrath to 
come; but you have the foretaste of the doom, the 
bitterness of sin ; sin has brought upon you losses 
you can never repair ; habits you would sacrifice every- 
thing but life to be able to forsake ; connections, it 
may be, that humble and shame and ruin you ; the 
anguish of useless regrets, and the dreary, sullen con- 
sciousness of a failing fight and a losing race. The 
bitterness of sin is here; may it not be also here- 
after ? We will not wrangle about words and phrases : 
you are burdened with a weight that man cannot lift 
from you ; you have sorrows that lie far below the 
springs of tears ; troubles from personal failure and 
anxiety that you cannot pour into the heart of another, 
even though that heart beat next to yours ; you main- 
tain a conflict alone ; a conflict sometimes fierce in the 
intensity of its struggle — with passion, with doubt, 
with conscience, with reason ; you are weary of it ; 
you cannot stand up through it all like a man ; you 
may assume to be erect, but in your heart of hearts 
you know that you are bent and broken and helpless ! 
Oh ! listen to the words of Jesus ; do they not describe 
and anticipate an extremity like yours : ' Come unto 
me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will 
give you rest ' ? Many of us came to him with a 
misery like yours; we saw nothing, we heard no 
audible words ; but a great presence came into our 
hearts, and the chaos of our thoughts subsided, and 
distinct forms of truth arose ; the atonement of Christ, 
we leaned upon it ; the fatherhood of Grod, we cried, 
Abba ! the ministry of a wise, tender, and personal 


providence, we saw all things working together for 
good, and, when the earthly house should fail, a build- 
ing of God to receive us, a house not made with hands, 
eternal in the heavens ! * Our Saviour is your Saviour ; 
' we have all of us one human heart,' and Christ's 
great heart is the sum and substance of ours. 

There is just one other fact that finds a place in the 
argument that seeks to establish Christ's authority as 
a teacher of heavenly things : that fact is the Church. 
The Church is built, not upon Christ's teaching of the 
earthly things, but upon Christ's mysteries. You are 
at liberty to designate the Church what you please. 
We mean by the Church all that in every place call 
upon, or pray unto, the name of Jesus Christ our 
Lord, both theirs and ours, f I repeat, you may give 
this Church what name you please, but you cannot 
deny its pre-eminent power; your candour must 
admit that with serious, and, perhaps, shameful 
blemishes, it is the mainstay of nearly everything that 
is good in the world. Your literature and science were 
born under its influence and fostered by its care. The 
Church of Christ is the mother of your free institutions 
and your noble charities ; and most of the greatest 
and best men that ever flourished were proud to be 
her disciples, and not a few of them compose her 
army of martyrs. But the doctrines to which this 
catholic body owes its existence, this body that repre- 
sents the foremost culture and civilisation of the world, 
are the heavenly things that belong to the region of 
pure revelation — the deity of Christ, the atoning 
death of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and a 
final judgment. These dogmas of the supernatural 
which many practical men affect to disparage are the 

* 2 Cov. v. 1. t 1 Cor. i. 2. 


foundations upon which the best practical results have 
been built. May the Head of the Church enable us his 
followers to bring out these mysteries into the intelli- 
gible expression of the life, to give them shape, 
to embody them in the readable type of spirit and 
action ; that we may be epistles of Christ known and 
read by all unbelievers for their obedience to the faith ; 
that every knee may bow and every tongue confess, not 
merely that he is the earth's greatest teacher, but that 
he is Lord of all, to the glory of God the Father ! 




Seemon on the Death of the Rev. L. H. Wiseman, deliveeed 
in Citt-eoad Chapel on Febeuaey 22nd, 1875. 

' Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always 
abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that 
your labour is not in vain in the Lord.'' — 1 Coeinthians xv. 58. 

ST. PAUL, in this chapter, stands between the 
living and the dead : he speaks of the dead for 
the sake of the living ; he speaks to the living for the 
sake of the work they were doing for the Lord. Their 
energy for the performance of that work would depend 
upon what they considered to be their relation to the 
dead. Unlike certain modern thinkers, the apostle 
did not believe that there could be steadfast, healthy 
work for the Lord Jesus where there was any faltering 
on the doctrine of the grave. The state of the mis- 
sionary Church at Corinth was not favourable to 
missionary work. There was a mournful license in 
morals, there was scepticism in regard to some of the 
chief verities of the Gospel, there was a bitter party 
spirit in the congregations and Church meetings of the 
people. Different parts of this epistle are devoted to 


the correction of these evils ; and the chapter now 
before us addresses itself to the speculative temper of 
the Corinthian Gentile Christians. They belonged, for 
the most part, to the lower middle class of the 
Greek population; but there were men of education 
among them, and some of these embarrassed the faith of 
humbler brethren by suggesting difficulties affecting 
the resurrection of the dead. St. Paul's Corinthian 
converts, during the absence of their apostolic father, 
were only too prepared by their old idolatrous habits 
to listen to sentiments which disparaged the human 
body. They had been accustomed to regard it as a 
vessel fated to dishonour ; the perishable plaything of 
a man, for the abuse of which the loftier mind was 
hardly responsible. When, therefore, their clever scep- 
tical friends explained to them that the Christian doc- 
trine of the resurrection had no application to the 
body, but simply meant the waking up of a dead soul 
to spiritual life, and that in every true believer the 
resurrection was past already — their last defence seemed 
to have fallen, and the enemy came in like a flood. 
They were not aware that when they excluded from 
the Gospel a particular doctrine on the ground of its 
improbability and its apparent disagreement with 
reason and experience, other truths which they would 
not venture to dispute must go with it. They did not 
see that in saying there was no resurrection they 
affirmed there was no Christ, and that the denial 
swept away the foundations of the entire structure of 
their faith. The doctrines of the Gospel are reve- 
lations, they are parts of one vast mystery ; and it is 
perilous work to divide between them according to 
their relative probability We may receive it as a 
maxim in theology, that if you reject one capital 
doctrine you cannot enforce the claims of the rest; 


a general uncertainty will attach to them all if the 
demonstration wavers in the evidence of one ; and their 
moral power upon the conscience and life of men loses 
the compactness of direct heavenly authority. Every- 
thing went wrong in the Church at Corinth because 
the doctrine of the resurrection was impugned : there 
was a relaxed conviction of the heinousness of sin, 
there was a fading estimate of the value of the atone- 
ment, there was a temptation to give up the natural 
immortality of the soul and to return to the old 
Epicurean rule, Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow 
tve die. 

There was another evil, and more full of disaster 
than any I have mentioned, the paralysis of Christian 
work. When any of the labourers fell, the doubt- 
fulness of their future state seemed to belong also 
to the work which they left behind, and others had 
small encouragement to enter into it. For lack of 
sympathy, unity, and success, the work had lost its 
character as one forward movement to the help of the 
Lord against surrounding error and ungodliness, and 
was broken up into independent and random exertions ; 
and the gifts of the Spirit so liberally bestowed upon 
the Corinthian Church were either silenced in her 
assemblies or perverted to the uses of ostentation and 
vanity- Never was the pen of an inspired writer more 
absolutely abandoned to the finger of God than was 
St. Paul's pen when he set himself to re-affirm, in 
this wonderful chapter, the resurrection of the dead. 
It has kept many a Church to its work when otherwise 
it would have drifted fatally into unknown seas of 
speculation. Observe the calmness with which he traces 
step by step the historical argument for the resurrection 
of Christ, in order to reduce to an absurdity any 
Christian denial of the general resurrection. 


The light which shines out from his exposition 
of sin, death, atonement, and life, discovers their 
inseparable links ; none of them has any use, nor 
indeed any meaning, divided from the rest ; and the 
faith which does not embrace them all can have no 
saving hold upon any. But we are most impressed by 
the apostle's manner when he passes from his his- 
torical statement, and the doctrines logically deduced 
therefrom, into the region of pure revelation. His 
tone is as firm, his style as clear, his descriptions 
as minute and as assured, as if he were still the his- 
torian instead of a prophet. He disposes of objections 
not with the slow carefulness of a thinker who 
has gone more deeply into the subject than you, but 
with the impatience of an eye-witness who has had the 
testimony of his senses questioned ; and the rapidity, 
yet perfect ease and naturalness, of his transitions, 
makes us lose sight for a moment of the stupendous 
discoveries that almost every verse brings out from the 
mysteries surrounding us. But the central fact which 
occupies the largest space in this firmament of lights, 
and from which all others take their glory, is the 
enthronement of the risen Christ, who is seen sitting 
in the heavenly places on the right hand of the 
Majesty on high, reigning, yet not in repose, but in 
progressive conquest, putting down all other rule and 
authority and power, until all enemies are under his 
feet, the last enemy that shall cease to trouble his 
government being Death. His followers, an already 
countless and ever-accumulating host, are beheld here 
as separated into two classes — those who are working 
with him and those who are resting in him : ' For to 
this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that 
he might be Lord both of the dead and living.'* We, 

* Rom. xiv. 9. 


the living, are with the Lord in conflict ; the soldiers of 
his army, the councillors of his chamber, the swift 
couriers of his messages, the ambassadors of his court ; 
we are supposed to fcfe ready for any and every service 
which an aggressive and all- conquering enterprise may 
require of subjects and followers. "We are putting 
enemies under Christ's feet ; this at least is the pur- 
pose for which we live ; and life which is diverted from 
this aim is lost to Christ. The great, the essential 
duty of every Christian is resistance against all rule 
and authority and power which oppose the sovereignty 
of Christ. We are fighting this great fight in various 
ways ; and the weapon which is handled, the skill 
which wields it, the wisdom which directs it, are 
equally various ; but in all lands, among all kindreds 
of the earth, wherever the followers of Christ are 
found, they are, it may be slowly, subduing kingdoms, 
working righteousness, out of weakness are made 
strong, waxing valiant in fight, and turning to flight 
the armies of the aliens.* 

It is this purpose of making Christ head over 
all things which unites the apparently separated and 
discordant efforts of God's people into one move- 
ment. It is a beautiful vision that sometimes in 
moments of prayerful retirement and breathing time 
comes within the range of the eye of faith, this army 
of the living God subduing all nations and peoples to 
Jesus ! But there is no tabernacle for us on the Mount 
of Vision: when the hour of musing is over, and 
the glory returns to heaven, and we descend again to 
the ground of our own local struggles, and the losses, 
the sufferings, the sorrows incident to warfare, pass 
immediately before our eyes, affecting, it may be, our 

* Heb. xi..34. 


own share in the battle, then it becomes hard, very 
hard, to keep the hand to its work and the heart in its 
place. There are in the strife passages of absorbing 
enthusiasm, and the glory of a sudden success makes 
us unconscious of the agony of work by which we have 
won it. But when it is purely a fight of faith, when the 
steady performance of duty is unattended by cheering 
excitement, it is a heavy task to maintain the encounter 
against the impressions of sense, the remonstrances of 
bodily weakness and the exaggerations of fear ; and 
when the mind is perhaps intellectually in sympathy 
with the suggestions of unbelief. It is not always 
easy to preserve the posture of resistance, to say 
nothing about the immovable steadfastness enforced 
in the text. Every one of us in the actual fight will 
have his seasons of depression and weeping, not on his 
own account mainly, not through a fear for the ultimate 
issue of the conflict, but from a natural proneness 
to extend the impression and estimate of what is taking 
place around us to the entire field. If the battle goes 
hard with us, it goes hard with every one on our side. 
If the enemy just in our front is overwhelming in 
numbers and strength, he is threatening with equal 
odds everywhere. These are moods of weakness, and 
the boldest will not escape them. It is the earthly 
texture of the vessel in which the treasure of our faith 
is kept ; and never is this side of our nature more 
apparent than when fellow- soldiers fall suddenly at our 
feet in the midst of strong service, and are carried off 
the ground. When there is a natural decay of powers, 
and gradations of frailty and diminishing work prepare 
us for the removal of companions, we bow, though 
sadly, to a universal decree. But to see eclipsed in a 
moment vigour, experience, faith, and all the qualities 
which make a support, when we most need support, 


is to be left a prey, for a time, to the perplexities of a 
defeated hope. 

If it had so pleased Christ, he could have made his 
apostles superior t® ordinary feebleness ; we should 
then have heard nothing of their fears within ; nothing 
of a dread of sorrow upon sorrow lest a brother 
apostle, who was apparently dying, should be snatched 
from their midst ; nothing of being perplexed and cast 
down. But Jesus kept these men to the ground that 
they might address us, not from angelic heights, but 
from human levels, as sharers in the decay of powers 
and in the loss of labourers, as well as in the glories of 
an everlasting and an ever-growing work. It is not an 
angel who cries, Be ye steadfast I but a brother beloved, 
a fellow-mourner, who buried companions and wept 
over them ; who was torn by anxieties lest the work 
of God should be impeded by the sickness or decease 
of brethren. It is he who walks with us to the graves 
of the ^departed; and beckoning to the living who will 
soon depart, he takes his stand by the side of an open 
and deserted tomb, and pointing to its vacancy he 
cries, ' Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become 
the first-fruits of them that slept.' At once we see 
this dreary sepulchre ground a harvest field sown with 
life : life to be regathered in exact numerical cor- 
respondence and personal identity with the life inclosed. 
The gloomy idea of an impersonal diffusion of matter, 
the painful impression of loss, disappear, and we see 
a slumberous host sleeping in Jesus : resting from 
their labours; their work not even pausing while the 
weary sleepers are being taken to their bed. The 
risen reigning Christ folding his dead, and directing, 
stimulating, and prospering his living; the work 
remaining, the agents passing ; and yet there is the 
closest connection between those who work and those 


who have retired from work to the unseen rest. Here 
are two sources of encouragement. The first is found 
in our relation to Christ. The second, in our relation 
to the dead. 

1. Our relation to Christ is that of servants 
whose sole business upon earth is to abound in their 
Master's work. We must recall and keep before us 
the nature of this work : it is progressive conquest 
until ' the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms 
of our God and of his Christ.' This march through 
the earth, like an army with banners, to e put down 
all rule and all authority and power,'* while it depends 
for its triumphs upon the hosts of the Lord, is yet 
independent of particular followers. It is never 
arrested by the fall of leaders and standard bearers. 
Every member of the host knows that the Lord ' must 
reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet.' 
No man can speak thus of himself : ' The issue of 
the victory depends upon me, upon my plans, upon 
my staff of workers, upon my Church.' This is a 
matter of boasting rather than of humiliation ; for 
the crown of our rejoicing is the crowning of Jesus. 
Let that consummation be effected by any means, 
so it be accomplished ; and the follower who is imbued 
most deeply with his Leader's spirit, and whose 
eye most steadily rests upon the mark and prize of 
his high calling, will glory in this, that whatever he 
may be permitted to contribute to it, whether much or 
little, Christ shall have the heathen for his inheritance, 
and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. f 
He lives in the prophecy of his Lord's final and cele- 
brated pre-eminence. 

The spirit of this self-nothingness in respect of the 

1 Cor. xv. 24. Ps. ii. 8. 


conditions of our Lord's crowning success, is a marked 
feature in the character of St. Paul; it distinguished 
all his brethren, but in his case there were circum- 
stances which brought it into prominent expression. 
' Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers 
by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every 
man ? I have planted, Apollos watered ; but God gave 
the increase. So then neither is he that planteth 
anything, neither he that watereth ; but God that giveth 
the increase.'* The ground, the seed, the water, the 
ordinance of growth, God's : Paul and Apollos, day 
labourers in God's husbandry : and even in this posi- 
tion, it was not they that laboured, but the grace of 
God which was with them. Who would not tremble 
for the ark of the Lord, if the question of its defence 
rested merely in the strength of human hands and the 
courage of human hearts, even if these belonged to 
apostles ? Who, to insure its success, would entrust to 
his own wisdom any single or secondary movement for 
the promotion of his Master's cause? Who would not 
hate himself for it, in calmer moments, if in the holy 
strife of Christian work he permitted an envious glance 
upon a worker who was doing more work than himself 
and better work, achieving a quicker success and 
attracting more observation? Who that has studied 
the words of Jesus, ' There is no man which shall do 
a miracle in my name that can lightly speak evil of me,'f 
can forbid any disciple who is trying to cast out a 
devil, because the man happens to belong to another 
company or to no company at all ? St. Paul's ardour 
carried him even further than this appreciation of 
rival Christian effort ; he appropriated the labours of 
enemies : ' Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and 

* 1 Cor. iii. 5—7. f Mark ix. 39. 


strife ; and some also of good will. . . . What then ? 
notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in 
truth, Christ is preached ; and I therein do rejoice, yea, 
and will rejoice.' * 

I have known no man in whom this breadth of 
sympathy was more conspicuous than in the lamented 
minister in whose death we seek to read our lesson 
this morning. Even if grace had not touched into 
heavenliness the outlines of his natural character, 
there would have been a manly indifference to personal 
ends : something outside would have possessed the 
stronger claim, and have carried his heart and his 
exertions away from himself. And when his nature, 
refined and softened by the Holy Spirit, was put into 
the larger mould of the Gospel, and he became a 
man in Christ, the most noticeable grace in that 
complement of many excellences was the charity that 
' seeketh not her own.' It widened the sphere of his 
labours; for his pulpit knew no restriction and his 
platform no party : it lent an ineffable charm to his 
personal intercourse, and insured for his services and 
character the popularity which attends personal worth 
and never loses its possessor a friend. And yet, this 
noble disposition, which sent his mind everywhere in 
search of offerings to be pressed into the Master's 
service, and which made him see some good in almost 
everything, never, that I am aware of, even tempted 
him to relax into license the doctrines entrusted to his 
care. The dogmatic rigidness of his theology was as 
remarkable as the liberal interpretations of his charity- 
He never thinned out the teachings of the Spirit to 
accommodate a hard doctrine to the prejudices of his 
hearers. No man had more right to join himself to 

* Phil. i. 15, 18. 



that class of preachers (may they still abound in 
Methodism) who take as their motto the watchword of 
Paul, ' Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we per- 
suade men.' * We may add that no man looked with 
more uneasiness upon what is called in these days the 
development of doctrine. He accepted and preached the 
faith as delivered, not only in its spirit, but in its word- 
formulas, once for all. At the last Conference, in 
his charge to newly ordained ministers, he concludes a 
remarkable paragraph in these words : ' How emphatic 
is St. Paul's language to Timothy, "The things which 
thou hast heard of me, the same" untouched, unaltered, 
" the same," no addition of man's device, no subtraction 
or concealment of unwelcome truth, being allowed, 
"the same commit thou to faithful men," men who 
in their turn will scrupulously guard the sacred deposit 
entrusted to them, and hand it down to their successors 
unimpaired ! Here then we have the true apostolical 
succession, the succession of men receiving from their 
fathers and elders in the Gospel the glorious verities of 
the faith, teaching and proclaiming these verities 
during their life ministry, and handing them down 
unchanged and uncorrupted to a following generation.' 

By this feature of our beloved friend's example is 
illustrated the encouragement now under consideration, 
our relation to Christ as servants, abounding in his 
work, and yet passing away as particular agents, with- 
out arresting the progress, or in any way hazarding 
the consummation of the work itself. 

The second source of encouragement is found in our 
relation to the dead. 

We die, but our work is not in vain in the Lord. 
This was St. Paul's consolation and a never-failing 

* 2 Cor. v. 11. 


spring of comfort to the early Christian workers. 
The fountain was unsealed by Jesus himself: ' I sent 
you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour : 
other men laboured, and ye are entered into their 
labours.' * 

1. We have the work of the dead. We need not 
concern ourselves as to which part of it is perishable 
and which part goes into the permanent aggregation. 
It is doubtful whether any honest work for Christ is 
perishable. The forms of it disappear ; and even that 
which is gathered into the garner of literature, or pre- 
served in institutions, is destined to an early or later 
dissolution. But the work itself is immortal, and in 
perpetual action in the transmission of principles and 
standards of faith, in the genesis of character, in the 
extension, from age to age, from century to century, of 
the kingdom of our Saviour, and by means which, if 
we should count them, are more in number than the 
sand. Everything offered to the Lord is carried forward. 
Whether a man glides out of sight when his day and 
his work are done, or whether he is cut down before us 
in the plenitude of his strength, or whether the service 
required of him is simply a preparation for labour, and 
he is offered upon the altar when the new gear of work 
and the untried yoke are simply decorations for sacrifice, 
nothing is lost, nothing is vain in the Lord. But we 
have more than their abstract work : — 

2. We have the examples of the dead. We may 
indeed say that their example is the sum of their 
work. But the example is the life; and in this the 
dead are more closely united to us, for they live 
before us. By an ordinary effort of the imagination 
we can recall those we have known, delineate the 

* John iv. 38. 


presence of those we have not known, and strengthen 
ourselves in the promises which they now inherit. In 
this way, possessing their words, their sufferings, and 
their labours, we cmne unto the spirits of just men 
made perfect.* We are carrying on their work by 
the virtual co-operation of their life. If we lack the 
helpful joys of their visible companionship, we have, 
what we never had before, the fellowship of their 
complete life, and we miss the anxieties and uncer- 
tainties of an unfinished career. A crowned witness 
fires us with a higher stimulus than a fellow-competitor. 
Apply this observation for the sake of direct appeal 
to our own Church. Methodism is rich in the inherit- 
ance of embalmed character. If the names and deeds 
we delight to honour have not the celebration of national 
monuments, they are enshrined in the hearts of our 
people. They inspire the labours of our students, they 
impart wisdom to our deliberations, they quicken the 
flagging zeal of workers, they kindle the enthusiasm 
of our meetings ; and the stories of their fidelity, their 
patience, their sufferings, and their last victory, shed 
a perpetual light upon the gloom of our sick-rooms and 
waken songs in the night season. No mean acces- 
sion to this treasury of example has been furnished at 
a great cost by the sudden removal from our midst of 
our now sainted brother. We have had, it may be, 
profounder thinkers and more accurate scholars, but 
it would be difficult to find a man whose public life 
presents a more healthy example to the present genera- 
tion of Methodist preachers and workers. I have 
already referred to one marked excellency of his char- 
acter ; and it is not my purpose to attempt a formal 
and complete portrait of his mind; but to use such 

* Heb. xii. 23. 


features of it as may give point and force to the expo- 
sition of our text. His was a life that will long 
linger in the memory ; its elements are always popular : 
simplicity, candour, courage, and good nature; the 
epithets noble, manly, generous, describe his friend- 
ship and the general tenor of his intercourse. The 
spirit in which he did his work was godly, unsparing, 
unselfish; yet the heaviest duties appeared to sit so 
lightly on him that he never seemed conscious of a 
burden, but moved easily and even jauntily along where 
other men stoop and can just bear themselves up. This 
may be explained by the rare buoyancy of his spirit and 
his great physical strength ; for it certainly cannot be 
attributed either to an indulgent conscience or to habits 
of easy preparation. His work always discovered marks 
of deliberate thinking and careful pre-arrangement. 
His sermons, even in the ordinary and obscurer course 
of his ministry, never consisted of mere talk to his 
people; and on great occasions he always equalled 
and sometimes surpassed the service expected of him. 
May the mantle of the departed servant of God fall 
upon the younger brethren of the Connexion whom he 
so tenderly loved, and with a double portion of his 
spirit ! May the appeals by which he sought to kindle the 
missionary spirit of our younger laymen, and which his 
death will widely revive, have a new voice from his 
tomb, and wake up labourers for our foreign field. May 
we all obey the exhortation which, from the work he 
has left behind and from the rest into which he has 
entered, he addresses to a bereaved Connexion : e There- 
fore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, 
always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch 
as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.' 





Being the Seventh Lecture on the foundation of John Feknley, 
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